Come Follow Me (Jan 23-29) Matthew 3, Mark 1, Luke 3 | Water & Fire – powered by Happy Scribe
Heading away from their beloved Jerusalem martin asks can you believe all the hullabaloo about this crazy John guy? I mean, everything he’s saying and doing?
Of course not, it’s heresy. I say heresy also, have you seen his clothes?
But what these Pharisees don’t know is that they’re about to witness one of the greatest events in scripture. Amazingly, the book of Mark is written by Mark. He kicks things off with his foot on the storytelling pedal as his book is the most action packed though shortest of the gospels. John Mark, as his mother calls him, grew up wealthy and was likely just a teenager when Jesus preached in Jerusalem acting as the apostle Peter’s scribe and interpreter because he knew Greek a postpolic halokipolala, he writes primarily from Peter’s firsthand perspective focusing on Christ’s doings more than his sayings. Spoiler alert. Mark later travels as a missionary companion with Barnabas and the apostle Paul and his book reflects Peter’s interest in spreading the gospel among the Gentiles. But this John guy happens to be Jesus’s slightly older cousin John the Baptist. His miraculous birth happened when his parents were quite old so it’s possible that he became an orphan at a very young age. He grew up in the desert, which was difficult ah, honey and locusts again. But like his cousin, he knew he had a mission to fulfill. In the words of Isaiah, Malachi and Lehigh john’s calling was to be a prophet who should come before the Messiah to prepare the way of the Lord.
He is the prophetic missing link between the Old Testament prophets and Jesus Christ. And when John turns 30 he boldly and fearlessly prepares the way for Christ’s ministry as one crying from the wilderness. He held the ironic or Levitical priesthood as a descendant of Erran through both his mother and father. But most importantly, his authority was from God. Humble followers gathered from all around standing at the river’s edge confessing their sins awaiting their turn to be baptized. However, the proud, well dressed Pharisees who’d flocked from Jerusalem and hiked down down through a barren desert looked down on John gawking and mocking his wild hairstyle, rough camel’s hair, clothes and bold preaching then brag about their ancestry. I’m a descendant of Abraham.
Yeah, me too. We’re already part of the covenant, right?
Yeah, I think so, something like that. Besides, those poor people need the best. Not me.
Hey John, nice spot you chose.
This generation of vipers or haters have a point. What is it about this spot that makes it special? Well, for starters, it’s the lowest point on earth with fresh water just before the Jordan River enters the Dead Sea at 1400ft below sea level. This will allow Christ to literally descend below all things through baptism before rising above all things. It’s also near where the Lord part of the river for the Israelites before they enters a promised land. A spot where they literally crossed into a new life, just as baptism symbolizes crossing into a new life in the kingdom of God. And since water is so scarce in the Holy Land, it’s also perfect for a unique object lesson from God. John declares, I baptize you with water unto repentance. But he that comes after me, he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire. Wait, so we need to get baptized twice? Well, being baptized is how God has instructed us to make a covenant with him. We commit to accept him as our God and to love all those around us. As we come out of the waters of baptism, we’re reborn spiritually with a fresh start, cleansed from sin.
But what about the fire part of it? Don’t worry, we won’t need a firewalk or anything. But like metal being heated to a high temperature to become malleable just below its melting point, even tempered or strengthened to withstand the greatest pressures, we too may go through a similar process of being strengthened through the fire of the Spirit. Therefore, being baptized by both water and Spirit, cleanses, purifies and strengthens us. Then, right in the middle of all the baptizing, jesus appears and asks John to baptize him. Even though he’s perfect and doesn’t need to be cleansed or purified, he explains to the perplexed John that he must fulfill all righteousness. Jesus then steps confidently into the river to be baptized by John and is buried completely beneath the water, symbolizing death, and then rises out of the water, symbolizing his own resurrection, which will occur soon enough. Then, in the greatest testimony meeting the earth has ever witnessed, the Father and the Holy Ghost testify of the Son. The Holy Ghost bears witness through the sign of the dove, symbolizing peace, hope and comfort. Remember the dove that carried the olive branch to Noah, indicating they were saved from the flood.
The ultimate witness, however, came as Heavenly Father parted the heavens and declared with loving comfort and confidence in his Son, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Yet, just as the Lord prepared the way for the Israelites by parting the Jordan River for them to enter the promised Land, jesus’s baptism in the Sane Oliver starts his own mortal three year ministry and shows us the gateway to our own epic missions with Jesus by our side. Almost 50 years ago, Living Scriptures was founded to help everyone better understand and feel the power of God’s Word. Who knew that today’s line upon line series would touch half a million lives every week? Season four, the Glorious New Testament is in production, and you are invited to help us in this great cause by clicking the donation link below. And as our gift to you, anyone donating $10 per month also receives a Living Scripture streaming subscription. For a donation of a $1,000 or more, our artists will give your likeness a cameo in one of our videos together through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can make a lasting impact on countless people around the world.
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