Title: New Start In Jesus
Scripture: Mark 1: 4 – 11
Preacher: Mr Yap Chee Kai
1. 2020 as the unprecedented ‘disruptive’ year (covid19 pandemic): have we truly learned what God has to say to us?
2. Whilst we desire to make a real, new start in 2021, yet in reality, have our spiritual life changed much from 2020?
3. In today’s passage, we will see God’s people making a new start, not just wishy-washy another year of new resolution, but a real start – a total breakthrough from their state of wilderness.
2.0 THE SETTING
1. Mark identifies John the Baptists in two ways.
2. Firstly, John is identified as the “voice” in verse 2 and 3.
3. John is the fulfilment of the expectation of Elijah’s return (Malachi 3:1; 4:5) and the ultimate realization of Isaiah 40:3.
4. Secondly, Mark links John as Elijah (2 Kings 1:8) by his garments, modesty diet (v.6) and his bold message of repentance (vv.2-3).
3.0 THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST (VV.4 – 8)
1. With this setting in mind, in verse 4: John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
2. Even before the Israelites’ exile, it has been prophesied God will deliver his people (eschatological hope of the exodus typology is fulfilled in Hosea 2:14; 12:9 and Isaiah 40:3-4, 41:18-19; 43:19-20; 48:20-21; 51:9-11).
3. God will cleanse their sins, make them clean, pours his Spirit into their hearts and give them his promised King: a new start as God’s people.
4. Israel is waiting for the coming kingdom which closely linked to the notion of repentance.
5. The Hebrew notion repentance is to “turn back” or “return” to Yhwh; by abandoning their wrong ways and return to God’s ways in obedient to start anew again.
6. How did they respond? Verse 5: All of the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
7. They want to be a new people, a nation with a new start, awaiting God to bring his kingdom.
8. Could John accomplish this mighty task? John says no in verse 7. After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of those sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
9. John affirms us the One coming after him, is far greater than him: John is not even worthy to carry his sandals even it is the lowliest thing to do.
10. John says in verse 8: I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
11. The real baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit: that God people will arise anew again.
12. Mark stresses John is indeed the Messiah’s promised forerunner (v.7) and his baptism is a preparation for the messianic baptism to come (v.8).
4.0 JESUS’ BAPTISM (VV.9 – 11)
1. Mark recorded in verse 9: In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
2. In submission to John’s baptism, Jesus acknowledges the judgment of God upon Israel.
3. Jesus comes to John as the true Israelite as a “perfect sacrifice” for the nation.
4. When Jesus got baptized, it’s like the epiphany (manifestation of God’s glory) of him as the Messiah and the Son of God.
5. In verse 10: And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
6. The act of “torn-open” is recorded twice: in verse 10 here, Jesus’ baptism and Jesus’s death at the crucifixion: 15:38 – it reveals Jesus as the Son of God.
7. The “dove” represents the Spirit of God in the beginning (Genesis 1:2) descend into Jesus – declares of his divine sonship and his unique identity with the Father.
8. This marks the starting again – the inauguration of the long-awaited return of the kingdom of God.
9. There is another voice, pointing to Jesus. In verse 11: You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased. The Father loves his Son, and takes delight in him.
10. The declaration at the baptism distinctly identifies:
* Jesus as the Son of God, echoing Psalm 2:7: Jesus as the enthroned king of Israel.
* Jesus the fulfilment of the original image of sonship that linked to Israel’s call in Exodus 4:22-23: “Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let me my son go that he may serve me.”
11. Mark’s expression of “with you I am well pleased” actually comes from Isaiah 42:1.
12. Jesus as the suffering servant to be the king must be sacrificed echoing in Genesis 22:2.
5.0 OUR RESPONSE
1. If we long to start anew again in 2021, let’s “PUSH” (Pray Until the Savior Helps) ourselves a new start in Jesus.
2. Two applications we can apply in our lives.
3. One: Re-examining your Christian lives in your relationship with God.
* Do you know Christ as who he is?
* Do you belong to his kingdom?
* Are you subject to him as your king and Lord? Are you assured on the Day of Judgment you will be saved from God’s eternal wrath?
* If your life reflects the life of Elijah or John, people will see Christ in you through how you live out the gospel.
* On the contrary, if you have gone astray from God and no longer subjected to Christ as your king and Lord, today is the day you come back to him in repentance and recommit your life to him.
* Start anew in Jesus. Psalm 2:12 reminded us “Blessed are all who take refuge in him”.
4. Second: Pointing to Christ and Proclaiming the Gospel.
5. Are you like John, truly living out the gospel in both doing and being?
* Are you faithful in your calling just like John in accomplishing God’s will in your life?
* Have you been proclaiming he gospel to your love ones or your neighbors that have not known Jesus?
* We need to urge them to repent and be forgiven before it is too late.
( To invite them to meet Jesus and find anew life, an everlasting life in him.
1. Let’s join the voice of John and the voice of the Father as we proclaim Jesus.
2. In this season of Epiphany and a new year, let us desire to know him in a greater measure of faith and love for indeed he is our Lord. Let us all start anew in Jesus. Let us pray.
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