Have your parents ever made you go through a difficult/painful experience? When? Why?
In this passage, God the Father expresses his love for his Son but he sends his Son into a difficult experience.
Read Mark 1:9-13 then make a list of questions you have about those verses.
What does Jesus’ baptism show us about Jesus?
- His humility. During a time when people were confessing their sins, Jesus went out to John and stood in line with everyone else, even though he had nothing to repent of. Jesus identified himself with sinners at the start of his ministry (baptism) and at the end of his ministry (crucifixion).
- His divinity. God the Father announced that Jesus was his Son.
Notice that the scene of Jesus’ baptism shows us the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What’s the significance of that? Some people refute the Trinity by claiming that God is only one Person who takes on different modes successively: Father, Son, then Spirit. But in this scene, we see all three as separate Persons.
Read the four accounts of Jesus’ baptism below then make a list of the unique features of each account. (All passages are from the NIV Bible, 1984.)
What would you say is the most significant difference in the accounts?
Some Bible critics are bothered by the difference in wording between the voice in Matthew and the voice in Mark. Did the voice say “You are my Son…” or “This is my Son…”? Was God directly speaking to his Son or the crowd? These critics point to this difference (and other differences) and say the Bible can’t be trusted.
What do you think about the assessment of these critics?
We can say that the main point is the same. At Jesus’ baptism, God the Father acknowledged that Jesus was his Son. Who those words were directed to doesn’t affect the message that is conveyed by those words.
1:12 – The Spirit sent/drove Jesus out, Jesus sent/drove the demons out. The same Greek word is used for both actions.
Why would a gentle dove drive Jesus into the desert to be tempted by Satan?
The Spirit seems to be pushing Jesus into the desert to do battle with Satan at the beginning of his ministry. In other words, Jesus needs to defeat Satan from the start of his ministry.
1:13 – in the Bible, the number 40 is often connected to a time of testing. (See Gen. 7:12; Ex. 34:28; Num. 14:33-34)
What did Mark leave out in Mark 1:12-13?
Unlike Matthew and Luke, Mark doesn’t tell us that Jesus was fasting or give us any details of the temptation. Strangely, Mark doesn’t even tell us who won. He basically says, “Jesus went out to the desert to be tempted by Satan, wild animals and angels were there.” This is characteristic of Mark’s writing, he gets to the point quickly. He assumes we can figure out who won. (For more info. on Jesus’ temptation see Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.)
Review Mark 1:1-13
Now, let’s review the first 13 verses of Mark before we compare the four accounts of Jesus’ baptism in the four Gospels.
Make a list of Mark’s claims about Jesus in Mark 1:1-13.
In just 13 verses Mark has set the stage for the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and in so doing he’s made big claims about Jesus:
- Jesus is the Lord who has a path prepared for him according to Isaiah’s prophecy (1:2-3).
- Jesus is the one who is more powerful than John (1:7).
- Jesus is the one who God acknowledged as his Son (1:11).
- Jesus is the one who is led by the Spirit (1:12).
- Jesus is the one who defeated Satan in the wilderness (1:13).