The Man Who Needs Nothing, Not Even Jesus

An Exposition of Mark 10:17-31

Today in our passage, Jesus is going to break common misconceptions about salvation. Namely, that God helps those who help themselves, or God saves good people. God only saves bad people. Period.

Salvation is by God’s power and grace to those who embrace Jesus as their only hope, not to those feel good about their own achievements. And to be saved means submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

Mark 10:17–31—17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ ” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.

Jesus, All or Nothing

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 3:20-35

We will be in Mark 3:20-35 today. This is a longer section than we normally take. That’s Mark’s decision though, not ours. These sixteen verses form one unit of thought that he has assembled. Mark is going to be all about how people relate to Jesus here.

The whole section reads like a screen play—storyboards that show scene by scene. And Mark here is editing the video to go from one camera angle to the next capturing together the full story of one part of one day from every camera angle, recording what each member of the cast is doing and how they are responding as we go.

I want as much time in the passage this morning so we are going to dive right in with only a few introductory thoughts. I want to answer the question up front—why did Mark put this record in his account of the life of Christ.

There are two purposes I see it: 

The first, is that it continues to chronicle the rejection of Jesus by His people. This is the historical account of how His own people reacted to Jesus. Fulfillment of prophecies that He would be rejected. It is the historical account of what took place. This included…

  • Full on attack of the Pharisees
  • Indifference of the crowds (the masses, the populous)

The second, is that it guides and directs us as to how we relate to Jesus. Unbelief is sinister. It has many faces and at times is difficult to spot for what it is. These testimonies stand as examples and illustrations that shepherd our hearts.

This passage is all about how you relate to Jesus. I’ve titled it, “Jesus, All or Nothing.” Mark’s point is that you either take Jesus for all He claims to be, or you don’t get Him at all. We will cover the notorious “unpardonable sin” in this text, but that’s really background information to the main story line.

I’m sure it was this passage and others like it that were on the mind of C.S Lewis when he framed up the brilliant apologetic that Jesus, because He claimed to be God, requires a judgment to be made about that claim. He is either Lunatic, Liar, or Lord.

If Jesus said He is God and He is not, but He truly believes it then He is a lunatic. He is irrational and has lost the ability to discern reality. He certainly cannot be trusted then because someone who isn’t God, but believes he is, then that one is delusional.

If He said He is God, and He is not, and He knows He is not, then He is a liar. He is trying to deceive and lead astray. He is like any cult leader who is hungry for power and influence, and lies about their identity. He is nefarious and everything He said must be rejected.

But If He said He is God, He believes He is God and He demonstrates He is God, then He is Lord. He is the sovereign master. He is worthy of complete devotion and reverence and homage. You can’t have a distant relationship with Him and still call Him Lord. The claim if He is Lord is total.

C.S. Lewis said to come to Him any other way is simply patronizing. It isn’t dealing with Him honestly based upon the claims He made. He rules out the good, moral teacher category. Choose your assessment and stick with it. Those are the three categories.

And each one of those three categories is in our text today.

Mark Records Three Ways of Relating to Jesus (only one of them results in salvation)

     1. You Can Soften Jesus (20-21)

          His family misunderstands Him… they believe He is a lunatic

     2. You Can Spurn Jesus (22-30)

          His foes malign Him… they believe He is a liar

     3. You Can Surrender to Jesus (31-35)

          His followers yield to Him… they believe He is Lord

One more comment before we dive in. Today Mark is going to introduce us to a literary device that he will continue to employ here and there throughout his Gospel. It is called bracketing, (intercalation) or more commonly, sandwiching.

It is a story within a story.

It draws attention to a main theme as they are woven together. So today we open with a scene, move to a different scene, and then pick up the original story at the end.

Our passage is long this morning and so we will just read the verses as we go and let the narrative unfold the way Mark wrote it, line by line.

Mark 3:20–35—20 And He came home, and the crowd gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 When His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, “He has lost His senses.” 22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23 And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 “If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27 “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. 28 “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” 31 Then His mother and His brothers arrived, and standing outside they sent word to Him and called Him. 32 A crowd was sitting around Him, and they said to Him, “Behold, Your mother and Your brothers are outside looking for You.” 33 Answering them, He said, “Who are My mother and My brothers?” 34 Looking about at those who were sitting around Him, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! 35 “For whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” 

Stripping the World's Veneer

A Bible Exposition Of 1 John 2:15-17

A Reader’s Digest article titled “The Anonymous Confessions of a Con Artist” 

 chronicles the saga of a heroin-addict-turned-con-artist who ripped off thousands of people to the tune of millions of dollars, and eventually landed himself in Federal prison. Years later he came out a changed man, and began a career working for the federal government to help train them on how to prevent fraud.

The article is fascinating. Known in the story only as “Jim” this man describes how as a child growing up in Brooklyn he learned to manipulate not only his friends and family, but the people in his neighborhood. He perfected the skill, and as a drug addict fed his need by continually using his skills of persuasion.

As a middle-aged adult he began his career of taking money from the masses. His target? Not the uneducated as some might assume. It was educated people that made his best victims. Doctors. Lawyers. Engineers. College Professors. People with $50k laying around, that would seem too smart to fall for a scam.

The process was simple. Run an infomercial on television promising a get rich quick scheme that required a significant initial investment. When they would call the call center (at one point receiving 10,000 calls per day), Jim was one of the closers who would get the yes and secure the funds.

This man ripped off thousands of individuals millions of dollars. And I’m sure that created hardships. Strained marriages. Debt. Perhaps even a suicide. How did so may people get ripped off? 

Jim’s approach was very simple. He said smart people get duped because he is playing on emotions not their intellect. Scams are never logical, but they are desirable. His approach was to find out what concerned his victim—someone who just lost their job and was financially unstable, or needed more money to pay for their kids college tuition—Jim would sympathize and then he promised them that he had a solution to make their problems go away. 

Jim knew how to exploit their vulnerabilities. He knew that within each of us is insecurities, fears, desires to feel good or safe or important. Jim’s scams never delivered anything he promised. All of his victims ended up worse than when they started.

But do you realize that these scams only impacted things that were temporary. At some point they were going to go away anyway.

Satan, is far craftier than any human con artist, and he has been applying his strategy to destroy humanity for millennia. He is a master manipulator. He understands human behavior. He knows how to get people vulnerable and what will appeal to their flesh. As the father of lies he knows just what you need to hear to give in to temptation.

Thank God that Jesus has overcome the world, including Satan. But he is nevertheless a formidable foe. And the reason Satan is so dangerous is because of our own hearts. Just like in our illustration—a person who was rational, asking questions, doing do-diligence was not going to be a victim. In fact, Jim said if people started asking any questions he would promptly hang-up. So Satan is only powerful because of our flesh. James says resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Today then we want to have our minds prepared for action… prepared for the truths that will protect us from the scams that we are so vulnerable to become victims of.

I titled this message, “Stripping the World’s Veneer” because that’s exactly what this is about. Veneer is a shiny surface that covers up what’s really going on underneath. What looks like real wood is actually particle board. Get it wet and find out.

We need the shiny veneer pulled off the spiritual scam so that we can see it for what it really is. 

Grab your Bibles and turn with me to 1 John 2:15-17.

John is going to help us understand Satan’s attack plan. And he is going to fortify our thinking about how to deal with the world. And he will put before us what we ultimately need if we will ever be immune to loving this world.

My goal (and John’s) is to wither the allure of this world. To see it dry up and wilt in light of God’s glorious worthiness. And I’m here to tell you that the only thing that could ever compel you to not love the world is to have a better love.


1 John is a short letter written by John (the apostle who wrote the Gospel of John and penned the Revelation). John’s purpose in writing is so that his readers might know that they are saved (5:13). He gives three tests… 

Do you believe sound doctrine? 

Do you love the people of God? 

Do you obey the commands of God?

Spiritual Rot Spoils the Sabbath

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 3:1-6

This is our fifth and final altercation between Jesus and the Pharisees in this section of Mark’s account. 

They will resurface again later. More conflict will come. But for now, Mark’s purpose is to give a smattering of what the conflicts looked like and he has given us 5 vignettes strung together.

As I was studying I just kept being struck by the struggle here. Jesus is hated right now by the Pharisees. They have quite a bit of water under the bridge so far. And as we said last week there is such familiarity with the accounts, that it is a challenge to think deeply and carefully about what we find here.

And one of the most fundamental questions that kept hitting me this week was asking, how did we get here to this point? How did things get so bad? Why the hostility? Why the threat?

First of all, Jesus is affirmed by John, who had already roughed the Pharisees up a bit. So they had been challenged by John, and then Jesus picks up this mantle.

What are all of the horrible things that Jesus has done so far? What atrocities and crimes has He committed that make Him so hated?

Jesus forgives sin and asserts Himself as being God (to them a blasphemer)… 2:7

Jesus befriends sinners (2:16)

He breaks the customs of the day, when he doesn’t fast (2:18)

He breaks the Sabbath according to their standards (2:24)

Who cares about all that stuff. Why would that make you so mad you wanted to kill somebody? He ate with the wrong people, and at the wrong time? 

If you were scheduled for first lunch in school and you went to second lunch who cares. Or if you were supposed to sit with one group of people and you sat with the others you might get harassed, but would people be so upset that they would want to kill you?

What if you were supposed to show up for an event on a Friday and you messed up the date and showed up on a Saturday. Annoying or disappointing, maybe. But angering?

There’s something else going on here that supersedes even the form of all of the issues. It isn’t the day of the week, it isn’t the ritual, or who Jesus is eating with.

But why do they hate Jesus so much? It’s because Jesus is actually tearing apart everything that these men stood for. He is removing the false comfort they find in their spiritual standards.

One pastor nails it when he identifies the problem as spiritual pride and describes it in this way:

“spiritual pride, is such a self-satisfying sin that it makes up for all that you have to forfeit. Listen, spiritual pride is like an aphrodisiac, it's like a drug. Spiritual pride is a high, walking around in overtly spiritual pretense in the way you dress and the way you conduct yourself and making outward pretenses and outward prayers and outward acts of manifest fasting, making an issue out of your giving for all to see. That's what they did. They found so much personal satisfaction in spiritual pride that they were willing to let other behaviors go. Spiritual pride is a very, very powerful, powerful sin. It's also a damning sin.”

I can still remember first learning this when studying the Sermon on the Mount. I always grew up assuming the Pharisees were miserable legalists oppressed by their own burdens. 

But that isn’t a Pharisee at all. Pharisees thrive off of their standards. They feel (if I can say that) righteous. They feel pleasing to God. They feel better than other people. And they feel like they want to do all of the rules. 

It satisfies their pride. It is their comfort zone. Their sweet spot.

So Jesus is challenging them and will say directly, “you are corrupt, you are inwardly dirty and inwardly like a tomb full of dead men’s bones.” Every time Jesus breaks their standards He is shoving them aside and exposing their pride.

And they can’t handle it. The challenge to their pride is so costly that they want to kill Him.

4 Steps As Jesus Exposes the Pharisees

     1.The Divine Setup (1-3)

     2.The Dividing Question (4)

     3.The Defiant Healing (5)

     4.The Disturbing Response (6)

Mark 3:1-3:6—1 He entered again into a synagogue; and a man was there whose hand was withered. 2 They were watching Him to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. 3 He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” 4 And He said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?” But they kept silent. 5 After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately began conspiring with the Herodians against Him, as to how they might destroy Him.

The Substance of the Sabbath

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 2:23-28

We have a lot of ground to cover so we are going to dive in quickly. This is the fourth vignette in a series of five where Jesus goes toe to toe with the religious leaders in Israel. Things are heating up quickly and Mark is on the move quickly establishing this for us.

The danger for us is that if we have been in Christ for any length of time, there is such familiarity with the words and the stories and the accounts, and sometimes we can almost dismiss the realities taking place here.

But these situations are raw and intense. The modern-day equivalent would be Jesus attending some gathering of pastors and priests and clergy. To a watching world it would be the spiritual leaders. And yet as He dives in He finds false systems of works righteousness, unbelief, confusion about the true Gospel.

And instead of exercising compassion, Jesus angrily indicts and challenges these pastors and priests. He is incensed because the spiritual leaders are misleading the masses. They are self-satisfied in their own righteousness.

The rebukes are public. They are piercingly clear and embarrassing for those who are indicted. He is cleaning house. This is the imagery of the lion and the lamb. Jesus is not soft, gentle, reserved, or tender right now.

He is angry. He is disturbed and perplexed. He is shrewd in His communication—to the point of belittling with sarcasm. It is motivated by a zeal for God. The Scriptures say that Jesus was consumed with this zeal (John 2:17, quoting Psalm 69:9).

In other words, Jesus heart and mind were so closely aligned with the purposes of God, and these leaders were so opposed to that purpose, that the righteous response was indignation. And so Jesus doesn’t help or encourage, but He admonishes (1 Thessalonians 5:14). 

Today He is going to provoke conflict.


We are going to take some time to set this thing up and then the text is going to unfold so naturally for us. Track with me for a little bit, while we bring ourselves up to speed on the original context. 

I’m going to take a while to explain the background to the Sabbath in v. 23 and then it’s all going to flow once we have that established in our minds.

5 Parts to the Sabbath Showdown 

     1. The innocent deed of eating (23)

     2. The incredulous accusation of lawbreaking (24)

     3. The insightful lesson from the Old Testament (25-26)

     4. The initial purpose of the Sabbath (27)

     5. The incredible claim of Jesus’ Lordship (28)

23 And it happened that He was passing through the grainfields on the Sabbath, and His disciples began to make their way along while picking the heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees were saying to Him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And He *said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions became hungry; 26 how he entered the house of God in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the consecrated bread, which is not lawful for anyone to eat except the priests, and he also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

The Authority to Forgive

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 2:1-12

Who Has the Authority to Forgive?

In March of 2015, Pope Francis made an announcement that he was convoking a jubilee year to be called the Holy Year of Mercy. He said that the church needed this year to rediscover and render fruitful the mercy of God. And give that consolation to every man and woman. He said, 

“Let us not forget that God pardons and God pardons always… we entrust it as of now to the Mother of Mercy, because she looks to us with her gaze and watches over our way… Our penitential way, our way of open hearts, during a year to receive the indulgence of God, to receive the mercy of God.”

If those statements seem unclear and even a bit contradictory you didn’t misunderstand them. God doesn’t pardon always. He only pardons those who seek His pardon. Furthermore, we don’t entrust ourselves to the Mother of Mercy.

Lastly, the very thought of a year of receiving special indulgence and mercy is irreconcilable with the biblical data. There is no prescription for a year of special mercy where certain sins that weren’t normally forgiven could be doled out by priests at their discretion. There was great pomp and circumstance that takes place to inaugurate this year (which just ended this month). To designate the so-called year of mercy, Francis opened the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Each of Rome’s major basilicas has its own holy door, which are traditionally sealed from the inside and only opened during jubilee years. The door usually is sealed with bricks as a symbolic reminder of the barrier of sin between human beings and God. Those who pass through a Holy Door during this jubilee year will receive a plenary indulgence, which removes the temporal punishment for sins committed up to that time—provided the recipient also goes to confession, receives Communion, and prays for the pope.

This brings up a fundamental question. Who has the right to forgive sins? The pope? The local priest in the confessional booth?

The issue of forgiveness is this: forgiveness is necessary because of sin. There is an offense. But the question is, who has the authority to absolve this debt? Catholicism teaches that it is through the mass, confession, communion, prayers. Various other religions have duties that bring about forgiveness.

The world also addresses this issue of forgiveness. 

This is because even though as sinners we try to remove the reality of guilt, in our personhood we are fashioned in the image of God. Our hearts have the law of God written on them and so we experience guilt instinctively when we sin.

So how should guilt be dealt with?

Psychology defines guilt and describes a process of removing it. But it misses the point. It focuses on the neurology of guilty feelings… the sensation of guilt is reduced to chemical reactions. 

Surely there are chemical reactions, but what causes these reactions? It isn’t merely chemicals exchanging. Rather it is the soul experiencing the awareness of the root cause, which is actual guilt.

The remedy according to psychology? Take responsibility (that’s good). Tell people you are sorry (that’s good). Then forgive yourself and accept that no one is perfect.

But how do you forgive yourself? Nowhere does God tell us to forgive ourselves. In fact, you can’t forgive yourself, and if you do forgive yourself it doesn’t mean anything. 

Neither does accepting that no one is perfect reduce the judgment of guilt against you.

The reason why we feel the need to forgive ourselves comes as we face the hard reality of how sinful we actually are. 

You will have regrets. I hope you have things you wish you had never done in life. Because your sins grieve Christ, and because they squandered what He gave you. A sorrow over missed opportunities and shameful thoughts and deeds is appropriate. It would be false to minimize the weight of missing the mark of God’s standards.

But the confusion is that as much as you want to be worthy, and as much as you would love it if you didn’t need a Savior, and as much as you want to look back on your life and feel good about who you are and what you’ve done… you can’t. You are a sinner! If you are honest with yourself, you have to recognize that you look into the mirror every sing day at a pathetic sinner. 

And so comfort doesn’t come from letting yourself off the hook by lowering the standard. It doesn’t come from learning to be okay with who you are. Comfort comes from one place alone, and it is from being truly forgiven. 

You need the lavish forgiveness that God alone provides (Ephesians 1:7-8). This is our topic at hand. Mark is going to record Jesus powerfully demonstrate His right and authority to forgive sinners. 

This is one of the fundamental realities of the Gospel—God reconciling Himself to sinners by forgiving them of the debt they could never pay. 

An outline for our passage today:

6 Parts to the Showdown Over Jesus’ Authority to Forgive

  1. The Packed Crib (1-2)
  2. The Penitent Cripple (3-4)
  3. The Polarizing Claim (5)
  4. The Pretentious Clique (6-7)
  5. The Perfect Comeback (8-12a)
  6. The Perfunctory Crowd (12b)

Mark 2:1–12 (NASB95)

1 When He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, not even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. 3 And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. 4 Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. 5 And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, “Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? 9 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven’; or to say, ‘Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk’? 10 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.” 12 And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out in the sight of everyone, so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.”


The First to Pass The Test

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 1:12-13

In the world of food and wine, one of the highest designations one can have is that of a sommelier. A sommelier is a wine steward. Beginning in 1969 there were official exams and classifications for sommeliers. The highest designation is that of a certified master sommelier. The exam is governed by the Court of Master Sommeliers, which has only inducted about 200 Master Sommeliers since the 70’s. So that’s a handful of folks each year. Of those who pass, most have at least 10 years experience as a Sommelier. The previous tests to get to that level have a 25% pass rate. They range from Introductory to Certified to Advanced to Master.

So there is a winnowing to even get to the top to be able to take the Master examination. It is considered one of the hardest tests in the world. Master Sommeliers have extensive knowledge of not just grapes and the process of making wine. But the various distinctions from regions to sub-regions, to even specific vineyards. A Master Sommelier has to blind taste wine and be able to pick up on the nuances and specifics of where and when the wine was produced.

Added to this is extensive knowledge of food pairings, cigars, other alcohol beverages. Not only is it the characteristics and parings, but also the science behind all of it. To top it off, Sommeliers are evaluated on salesmanship, charm, personality, and presentation. They have to look the part and be able to make for an enjoyable dining experience. Some years more students pass than others.

In 2013 out of 70 people who took the exam only one passed. It is difficult. It is strenuous. Preparation is rigorous. Many people who aspire to become Master Sommeliers never make the cut.  Passing the test isn’t what qualifies you. In one sense, the test just tells what’s there. What actually qualifies you is your ability to pass the test. By that I mean the test is the validation that you are qualified, that you have the stuff to get the job done.

And as rare as it is to pass a Master Sommlier test, the test for obedience to God’s standards has a much lower success rate. Statistically impossible. Worse than that we know that it is theologically impossible. Right now up to the point of Jesus ministry, the human race, starting with Adam is O for billions.

And yet that is all about to change. The test taker is now going to pass the test with flying colors. He will ace the impossible exam. Jesus is not the first to take this test, but surely He is the first to pass the test.

Today brings us to the end of Mark’s Prologue. The background for the rest of the book is established. We know what we need to so that Mark can dive into the ministry of Jesus next week as He begins His preaching ministry.

The Prologue to the Ministry of Jesus Christ (1:1-13)

  • Identification of His Ministry (1)
  • Preparation for His Ministry (2-8)
  • Inauguration of His Ministry (9-11)

But before Mark turns the corner there is one more situation that needs accounting for:

  • Validation of His Ministry (12-13)

This is the final step in Jesus preparation for ministry. Before He goes public, He must be tested. He has just identified Himself with His people. He has just been identified as being the Son of God.

And so now Jesus is tested by Satan in the wilderness according to the Spirit’s intention. This is a test designed by God to vindicate the ministry of His Christ. Jesus, as a man needs to pass the test in order for Him to be qualified to bear the sins of men. Our outline is very simple this morning. Just two verses here today. It breaks down very naturally:

2 Features of Jesus’ Validating Test

  1. The test is chosen by the Spirit (12)
  2. The test is carried out by Satan (13)

Mark 1:12–13 12 Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.

World, Meet My Beloved Son

A Bible Exposition Of Mark 1:9-11

Well here we are back in Mark today. Grab your Bibles or your Bible apps and turn or scroll with me to Mark 1.

Let me just tell you, I love studying God’s Word and teaching it. That’s a good thing for a pastor to love doing.

But this study so far in Mark has been exceptional. We are just going to keep coming to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And if you can study Christ and be unaffected that’s a problem.

To understand Him rightly should cause brokenness over who you are. A compelling sense of unworthiness. An immense gratitude to Him for His undeserving grace. To see Christ and rightly respond is to swell with worship as you consider that the God-man would die for someone like you.

If you can study Christ and walk away in indifference then there is a concern that you don’t really know this person whom we are speaking of.

These truths are so lofty. So my prayer today is that your heart would be impressed with the Lord Jesus Christ. That you would see Him as the eternal Son, humbled to come and stand in your place.

And that you would leave here today re-invigorated by the truth that if you have come to Him in faith and repentance then you have Him. Expect to have your heart and mind gripped by the reality of Christ himself today.

This brings us to our third week in this study. Here’s where we are big picture:

  1. The Prologue to the Ministry of Jesus the Christ (1:1-12)
    1. Identification of Jesus’ Ministry (1)
    2. Preparation for Jesus’ Ministry (2-8)
    3. Inauguration of Jesus’ Ministry (9-11)
    4. Vindication of Jesus’ Ministry (12-13)

Mark is aware of all the details we find in Matthew in Luke. The birth narrative. The magi coming from the East. The last minute trip to Egypt. The scene in the temple as a boy

None of that is important to his purpose.

So today we come to his baptism. Oftentimes we kind of read over his baptism it seems at best kind of odd and unusual… why he would get baptized? At worst it seems useless or even inappropriate. Why was He baptized? What is the significance of His baptism? What do we learn about our God and Savior from this text?

Well, all of that from our text today.

4 Parts to the Inauguration of Jesus’ Ministry (9-11)

  1. His Appearance in Public (9a)
  2. His Affiliation with Sinners (9b)
  3. His Anointing by the Spirit (10)
  4. His Affirmation by the Father (11)