Mark 1:1-11 Baptism of Jesus Written Sermon

If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it.  I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified.  I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you.  You have my permission to alter it (it’s longer than usual) and use it however God leads you.  God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.

Yesterday morning I was looking over the WV Metronews site I read about 1,000 vaccines being given and received in Charleston. It had a photo of one man giving another man the Covid-19 vaccine. As someone who has been dealing with personal protective equipment on the ambulance through all of this, the first thing I noticed about the photo was that the guy giving the shot had his eye protection on his forehead. I get it. Sometimes safety glasses are hard to see through. Personally, I have a problem with my prescription glasses. When I am acting as the EMT on a call I take off my glasses and put on safety glasses. My prescription glasses are for seeing in the distance. I cannot see things close to me when I have them on. I have trouble seeing the monitor, the computer, and paperwork with my prescription glasses on. I really need bifocals or transition lenses. My eye doctor told me it would come to that. It has definitely come to that.
Safety glasses only work when worn correctly. My prescription glasses only work for the purpose for which they were designed – to help me see things at a distance. When I do not wear either ones properly or for their intended purposes, they are ineffective. There is a certain way that works and a million other ways that do not.
This reminds me of the way people look at God. God is not who we say He is. God is who He says He is. The Bible tells us things about God and His ways.
There are a million wrong thoughts about God, and just because people think these wrong things, it does not make them so. God is Holy, righteous, and the Scripture says He punishes sin. But it also says He is full of grace.

There are some clues about God in the Scripture before us today.

First – Jesus presented himself for baptism as an act of solidarity with a world of sinners. He simply got in line with everyone who had been broken by the wear and tear of this selfish world and had given up on themselves and on their God. When the line of downtrodden and sin-sick people formed in hopes of new beginnings through a return to God, Jesus joined them. At his baptism, he identified with the people who acknowledged they were damaged and broken and in need of God.

This makes me ask myself a question. Are we, as the church universal, as the local congregation, and as individuals, willing to follow Jesus’ example? It’s a question worth asking. And it requires a personal answer. Are we willing to follow Jesus’ example by identifying with sinners, getting in line with them, and welcoming them, and working to make them followers of Jesus? Nearly every local church says the right things, declaring themselves a hospital for sinners and a refuge for those who have lost their way, but the reality is that society and even some in the church, believe people have to get straightened up before they come to church. It’s the question we were asked by an alcoholic at a block party back at the previous church I served, “If I still have beer on my breath from drinking late into Saturday night, can I still come to church on Sunday morning?”
Even people who already come to church, when they face personal problems, often drop out of church until they get things “squared away”. They return to church only after they feel they can be re-certified as respectable, churchgoing people, like the rest of us. The truth is we’re all recovering sinners who still fail at times. Jesus came to seek and save the least and the lost. Jesus got in line with sinners and was baptized with them. That might be worth remembering.

Second – Jesus Depended on the Holy Spirit

Jesus’ Baptism is widely accepted as the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, as Jesus’ send-off. And he wasn’t ready to begin it until he received the Holy Spirit. Luke doesn’t relay a single word spoken by Jesus. He accepted the Baptism, prayed to his Heavenly Father, and received the Holy Spirit. Jesus received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to resist satan in the wilderness. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to restore sight to the blind. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to make the lame walk. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to cleanse a leper. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to make the deaf hear. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to feed the multitudes. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to calm the storms. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to love the unlovable. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to walk on water. Only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to go to the cross. And only by the Power of the Holy Spirit was he ready to forgive those who murdered him of their sin.
Yet again, this begs a question. Are we as the church sustained by the Holy Spirit? And individually – Are YOU sustained by the Holy Spirit? Do you depend on the Holy Spirit and prayer to the Heavenly Father? And depending upon the Spirit can be scary. Friday evening on was on an ambulance call with Chad Muir as the driver. Something came up and Chad pointed at me and said something like, “talk to him, he’s the EMT, I’m just the driver”. I told Chad that I miss those days of being “just the driver”. When you are the EMT, you are in charge of everything – CPR, doing 12 leads, putting in airways for people who are not breathing… it can be very stressful. And Chad said, “You’re the one who wanted to be the EMT. And I said, “NO, I am not. I absolutely felt like I was supposed to take EMT classes. Nobody asked me to, nobody talked me in to it. I went to Lauren the medical chief and said, “I’m supposed to take EMT class.” I had no clue how I was going to do it. Yet, I was absolutely certain that I was supposed to become an EMT… that God was leading me to do it. What is required of me and what is required of you is obedience. If God has impressed upon my heart or your heart to do something, we don’t have to know how it’s going to happen or even if we have the ability to do it. If we always have it all figured out before we begin, we’re not really stepping out in faith. I’m not saying the Holy Spirit doesn’t sometimes make things known to us beforehand, but I am saying that the Holy Spirit doesn’t always make the way known to us beforehand.
One of my favorite quotes is from Jim Cymbala in Fresh Wind Fresh Fire –
“I despaired at the thought of going through my entier life in ministry without seeing the Spirit work mightily on my behalf”. When you rely on your intellect, you get what your intellect can do, when you rely on your training you get what your training can do. When you rely on the Holy Spirit, you get what the Holy Spirit can do.”

Third, and Perhaps most importantly, from, it points out the occasion of the public baptism recorded for all future generations the perfect embodiment of the triune God revealed in glory from heaven. The testimony directly from heaven of the Father’s pleasure with the Son and the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus is a beautiful picture of the trinitarian nature of God. It also depicts the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit in the salvation of those Jesus came to save. The Father loves the elect from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4); He sends His Son to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10); and the Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8) and draws the believer to the Father through the Son. All the glorious truth of the mercy of God through Jesus Christ is on display at His baptism.

We get to know God better studying Jesus’ baptism.

And then we get to know both God and the devil better by studying Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.
How was Jesus led into the wilderness? By the Spirit. That’s a pretty good indicator that the Spirit is not a guarantor of comfort. God does not keep you from difficulties, but does give you what you need to get through them – often it’s training for something else to come.

And we get to know the devil better.
Have you ever wanted to do something so bad, something you knew you shouldn’t do, but you figured out a way to justify it? You know what I’m talking about. It’s something that always starts out as, That’s a no-no, I know a no-no when I see a no-no, and that’s a definite no-no. But then you start thinking, “Who’s it going to hurt?” or “Who would even know?” or “I really deserve it.” or “I think I’ve found a loophole.”
You know that’s not the Lord. Who does it have to be then? The great deceiver.

We read throughout Scripture that he is a liar and a deceiver – Here is a great example – he tries to get Jesus to bypass the cross by promising him everything. But the devil is not a promise keeper.

Jesus knew he couldn’t take a shortcut or find a technicality, or loophole. He knew he couldn’t bypass showing us how to live, how to love, how important each individual was to him. He knew he couldn’t bypass the sacrifice, the shed blood, and the resurrection.
The sum of the Christian faith is wrapped up in His shed blood on the cross, His death on the cross, and His resurrection from the grave.
When he shed His blood, he shed it for you and me,
when he died, he died for you and me;
And when he conquered the grave, he rose for you and me.

If he had taken Satan’s bait, and tried to take a shortcut, he would have been doing it for himself. While he was here on earth, everything he did, he did for you and me. Bowing to satan is not something he would have been doing for us. It was satan’s attempt to keep him from doing what had to be done. It was satan’s best hope you keep you from being saved, to claim you as his own.

And I say his best hope, but not his last hope. he still hopes to keep you for his own –

  • by minimizing sin – by telling you that God doesn’t care about your sin
  • by telling you God could never love you because of your sin
    Those are two sides of the same coin
  • by making you believe you do not need to repent
  • by making people believe God is not real

Let me count the ways – steal the devil’s hope. Confess to God – receive Jesus – Tell the devil to get behind you –

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my father
There is no shadow of turning with thee
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not
As thou hast been thou forever wilt be

And great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Summer and winter, springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love

And great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Pardon for sin and peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside

And great is thy faithfulness
Great is thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed thy hand hath provided
Great is thy faithfulness
Lord unto me