Pilgrim III: Belief in Jesus

This session of the Pilgrim course looks at Mark 1:4-11.

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with[a] water, but he will baptize you with[b] the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism and Testing of Jesus

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 1:8 Or in
  2. Mark 1:8 Or in

This is all about looking more closely at who Jesus is, in particular, our views as we were asked to write a tweet (original size) about who Jesus is.   I think I wrote something along the lines of “Jesus is my friend, my brother, my past, my present and my future”; symbolising that he is always with me and the close relationship I have regained.

There’s also a trend to these pilgrim sessions, they all relate to the part of the baptism and confirmation services where we declare (or is declared on our behalf when you’re a baby) our Profession of Faith.

  • Do you believe and trust in God the Father?
  • Do you believe and trust in his Son Jesus Christ?
  • Do you believe and trust in the Holy Spirit?

Can you guess what Pilgrim IV is going to be about?

After reading the passage above, we were asked what we think might have surprised and challenged the people at the time or for ourselves.

I like the fact that even though John declared he was not worthy to serve Jesus, Jesus still came to John and asked him for baptism. Jesus, who has no sin, is asking John, who baptised people for repentance of sin, to baptise him.

Surprised? You should be, John was!

He was well aware of who Jesus was, and that his baptism by water was no match for Jesus baptising people with the Holy Spirit.  Jesus did not need to be baptised, but this simple act sets the scene for how Jesus relates to the rest of humanity, taking the sin of our human nature and delivering us from it,

I always find it fascinating that we are often surprised by how God does things.  It is a challenge, in ourselves, to accept how some things are done.  In the same way, the people of Israel had enough time to create many preconceived ideas of what their messiah would be like, what he would achieve, how he would drive the Romans out of Israel at the head of the army, and so on.

I think they got a massive surprise!

Note: Jesus did eventually conquer the Romans; just not in the way that was expected of him at the time.

He did not apply brute force, Jesus did not lead an army, he did not wield a sword. He did it all with the word of God, by showing us all how to be righteous in the eyes of God, by freeing us all from sin and allowing us all to share in Gods glory.

He did all of this through his life, death and resurrection. For me, for you, your family, your friends, your neighbours, your co-workers, the strangers that cross your path.

Lord God,
thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our saviour.
Thank you for allowing us to build our relationship with you through Jesus,
He is our light in our darkness, our ship on our endless sea,
the calm in the storms of life, the peace in our tranquillity,
and, through his most precious sacrifice, the forgiveness of our sins.

Amen