“At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized
by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love;
with you I am well pleased.”
The first chapter of the Gospel of Mark is direct and straight to the point. We don’t read anything about the birth of Jesus and his youth (the silent years). Mark simply jumps straight to the prophecy in Isaiah about John the Baptist and quickly moves to the baptism of Jesus. It is in the two verses that describe the baptism of Jesus that I would like to focus.
The baptism of Jesus is in all three of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and in each of them, the recorded words of God are almost identical. There are three parts of God’s statement, and each holds great meaning and specifically points to the Gospel. Let’s take a closer look.
- “You are my Son” – God is identifying this Nazarene as His son! The significance of God identifying Jesus as the son of God is important because of what Jesus was sent to this earth to do in the first place. Only Jesus, fully God and fully man, could pay the penalty for all of mankind. God is clearly identifying Jesus to establish that his sacrifice was going to bring about the redemption of all mankind. The Gospel.
- “Whom I love” – To understand the significance of this we need to read what Paul writes in Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loved us even when we were unregenerate sinners. He also loves His son. The Gospel is encased in this truth that God loved us so much that He sent His son, whom he loved so that we might have eternal life. The Gospel!
- “With you, I am well pleased” – God’s final statement also points us to the Gospel. God was ‘well pleased’ with Jesus. Jesus was a sinless sacrifice. He was the lamb of God. He had nothing to repent of as He always did what was pleasing in the sight of God. We cannot even begin to imagine this type of obedience. What God is establishing for us by this statement is that only Jesus’ sinless, righteous life, could please God. In Isaiah 53:10 it says that “It pleased the LORD to bruise Him.” That obviously doesn’t mean God the Father enjoyed seeing the suffering Jesus went through, rather it means that the suffering that Jesus was about to enter in after His baptism was going to bring salvation to the world. That pleased God. That is the Gospel as well.
As we enter into the Easter weekend, let’s make sure we never forget that first and foremost God gave His son, whom He loved and was well pleased in, to take on the penalty for the sins that was destined for us and offered us the free gift of eternal life. It is the Gospel.