#DailyDevotion Jesus Is Israel, God’s Son, Who He Delights In
Mark 1:9–15 9It was in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Just as He stepped out of the water, He saw heaven torn open and the Spirit coming down as a dove on Him. 11And a voice from heaven said, “You are My Son, Whom I love. I am delighted with You. 12Then the Spirit drove Him out into the wilderness, 13and He was in the wilderness for 40 days while Satan tempted Him. He was there with the wild animals. And the angels served Him. 14After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and preached God’s good news: 15“The time has come, and God’s kingdom is here. Repent, and believe the good news.”
Mark seems to be simple and abbreviated at times when he gives an account of the life of Jesus. We certainly do not get a full theological treatise on what the baptism of Jesus means here. You won’t get one here but perhaps this devotion will get you started. First is the amazing fact that Jesus is getting baptized. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus had no sin so what gives with that? Jesus is being baptized in our place, fulfilling for us in baptism which we could not do for ourselves. He is making it a holy thing for us. I believe also he is being identified as one of us here, sinners. We mostly focus on Jesus taking our sins upon himself on the cross and rightly so, but I think he is doing that here as well.
Then there is the whole aspect of being baptized in the Jordan, in the wilderness. Chad Bird somewhere noted Jesus here is taking Israel’s place. It was here the people of Israel came out of the wilderness and entered into the Promised Land having been tested by God. As we shall see shortly, it is here Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tested by Satan on our behalf. As you read the history of Israel, you will see they failed pretty miserably the testing they received, but the LORD was gracious and let them enter anyway. They also did a pretty poor job of being the people of God once they entered. Jesus in his baptism is identified as Israel.
Having been baptized we see the Trinity revealed to us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father speaks, “You are My Son, Whom I love. I am delighted with You.” This is more of the Father counting Jesus as Israel. In Matthew 2:15 Jesus is identified with Israel when he comes out of Egypt. Unlike Israel who crossed the Jordan with whom the Father is not pleased, he is pleased with Jesus. Jesus being identified as Israel fulfills all that God commanded Israel and all God’s promises to Israel are fulfilled in Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to all who are joined with him.
Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan and does not fall into sin. Jesus has overcome temptation for us. When tempted we remember Jesus has overcome our temptations for us, in our place. Only the good news overcomes temptation and sin. God’s kingdom has come is the good news. Jesus is God’s kingdom. He overcomes sin, death and Satan for us. As such we are called to believe this good news and have a change of mind, that is trust in God the Father in Jesus’ name and be baptized. When you are baptized Jesus’ righteousness becomes yours, you receive the Holy Spirit and the Father speaks to you, “You are My Son, Whom I love. I am delighted with You.
Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for sending your son Jesus Christ to be our substitute and win your kingdom for us. Grant us this faith always so we may overcome temptation, through Jesus Christ, your Son our LORD who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.