Launched From Heaven

The Son of God was sent by His Father into our world. “For God so loved the world that He gave…” “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world…” After 30 years of preparation, in human form this God-Man Jesus launched into His ministry in the Jordan River by being baptized by John the Baptist.

Jesus came from Nazareth in the northern part of Israel, to join in the line of baptismal candidates who were declaring their response of repentance to God by obey John’s command to be baptized.  Other gospels fill in the details, covering this pivotal event.

1) He was baptized with a baptism of repentance. Here is Christ identifying fully with guilty sinners, though He Himself was sinless. John tries to stop Him, but Jesus urges him to proceed with the baptism.  This fulfilling of ‘righteousness’ declared Christ as the sinner’s substitute, the Innocent One identifying fully with the guilty.

2) He was anointed with the Spirit of God. Coming up of out of the water, John witnesses the ‘anointing’ of Jesus with the Holy Spirit. As prophets, priests and Kings were consecrated and anointed for service with a flask of oil demonstrating absolute dependence upon the power of the Spirit, Jesus is anointed as ‘the Christ’ – the ‘anointed One’ for that is what this title portrays.

3) He was approved by God the Father. This voice from heaven authenticates the Son of God, loved immensely and evidencing conduct that was ‘well pleasing’ to the One who sent Him.

4) He was led by the Spirit as the Son of God into the desert. Just as Israel, God’s Old Testament ‘son,’ (Hosea 11:1) was tested in the wilderness/desert, so Jesus encountered temptations there. Alone in this place of barrenness, He is attacked by Satan and His only defence is what the Father has provided. Mark does not cite the Scripture citations which Jesus quotes as He defends against these Satanic assaults with truth.

In an interesting statement as part of his gospel explanation to Cornelius and his household Peter summarizes this launching from heaven by the triune God. “…how GOD anointed JESUS of Nazareth with the HOLY SPIRIT, and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) Jesus, anointed by the Spirit of God, models a total dependence upon God for those who claim to follow Him and need that same God-given anointing for any ministry God leads them into by His grace.

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