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The Baptism of the Lord (Jan 7th)

Pastor's Summary of Mark 1:4-11

This gospel begins with the messenger whom God sends ahead of Christ, to prepare the way. John is the forerunner of Jesus. Tradition says that John baptized near Jericho, in an arid region. People came to him in large numbers, representing (changing their mind sets), "confessing their sins" (v. 5), resolving to sin no more, and (probably) dipping themselves in the River. John dressed like a hermit or prophet (v. 6). In Palestine, some species of "locusts" were eaten. Mark does not tell us why Jesus was baptized by John, but what follows is important. The opening of the heavens symbolizes the start of a new mode of communication between God and humankind. Perhaps "like a dove" (v. 10) is an allusion to the spirit hovering in Genesis 1:2. To Mark, the "voice"...from heaven" (v. 11) confirms the already existing relationship between God and Jesus. (The Greek word translated "Beloved" indicates God's choice more than his feelings.) Part of Jesus' message in Galilee (v. 15) is "repent, and believe in the good news."