Reading through the Bible together
Mark begins his gospel account by describing the ministry of John the Baptist in preparing the way for Jesus. There is a sense of great anticipation as John declares in verse 7: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie” (NIV). This expectation is fulfilled when Jesus comes to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.
Clearly Jesus, the perfect Son of God, did not need baptism. And John felt unworthy to baptize Him (Matthew 3:14). But Jesus insisted on being baptized as an example for us (Ellen White, Desire of Ages 111).
The day of His baptism, Jesus set an even more important example for us. His complete submission to His Father as expressed in His prayer (Luke 3:21,22). Immediately following His baptism, Jesus exemplifies the life of complete surrender which we are asked to live. Jesus was beginning His ministry. His mission was before Him. He was introducing a kingdom which was the opposite of what the people expected. He would face rejection and opposition with every move He made. He faced the cross and the possibility of separation from His own Father. Jesus surrendered all of this in prayer to His Father (Desire of Ages 111).
The Father’s affirming response recorded in verse eleven, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased,” encouraged Jesus for His mission. And after the first disciples accepted Jesus’ invitation to follow Him (verses 14-20), they would learn to surrender their lives into the Father’s hands that they might fulfill their mission. We must do the same. As we do this, the Father’s voice will say to us: “This is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased” (White, Desire of Ages 113).
Senior Pastor, University Church