Markby Robert M. Solomon
Verse 9 simply states that Jesus was baptised by John. But if John's baptism signified repentance, why did Jesus ask for it? Matthew 3:14-15 gives us a fuller picture of events. John in fact recoiled from the idea of baptising Jesus because he knew Jesus was sinless. It was John who needed to be baptised by Jesus! John consented only because Jesus said that it was necessary to ″fulfil all righteousness″ (Matthew 3:15). Jesus was baptised not for any sin of His but for our sins. He came to identify with us so that He could carry our sins to the cross and die for us.
Something remarkable happened when Jesus was baptised. Heaven was torn open and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus (v. 10). The Father's voice declared to Jesus, ″You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased″ (v. 11). This echoed Psalm 2:7 (″You are my son″) and Isaiah 42:1 (″Here is my servant . . . in whom I delight″) and reiterated the identity of Jesus: He is the Son and Servant of God. This baptism is a prototype for all Christian baptisms, for our baptism reminds us of our identity in Christ. We are God's children and servants, initiated into God's family and commissioned into His service.
Note how the three persons in the Trinity were united at the Jordan River (vv. 10-11). Salvation is the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who unite perfectly to save us from sin and death. What a wonderful, comforting, and reassuring truth!
The Greek word for ″at once″ (euthus) in verse 12 is a frequent occurrence (it is used more than 40 times, translated variously as ″immediately″, ″at once″, ″without delay″, ″quickly″, and ″just then″) in Mark's fast-moving gospel. The Spirit ″sent him out″ (the Greek word is very strong, best translated as ″drove″ or ″expelled″) into the desert (v. 12). Jesus spent 40 days there and was tempted by Satan. Further details are provided by Matthew (4:1-11) and Luke (4:1-13). Jesus fasted as He dealt with Satan's temptations. He also faced danger from wild animals, but was assisted by angels, who strengthened Him.
Between Jesus' baptism and service, between His calling and ministry, lies temptation. This is a lesson that applies to all who commit their lives to following Christ and obeying His call to service. We can see from Matthew 4:3-9 that Satan was a master at twisting God's words and sowing doubt. Knowing that Jesus had just received the approval of the Father, Satan challenged Him to prove His divinity, taunting, ″If you are the Son of God . . .″ (4:3, 6). He then proposed short cuts and diversions from the cross (4:8-9).
How does Jesus identify with us in both His baptism and temptation (Hebrews 2:14; 4:15)? According to Matthew 3:13-15 and Romans 6:1-10, why was Jesus baptised and what does it say about your own baptism? If your baptism helps you to be united with Jesus, what are the implications for the way you live?
How can we safeguard ourselves against the temptations of Satan that are found between calling and ministry? What is your own experience in this regard?