To Whom Do We Bow (Mark 1:9-13)
This morning we will be traversing into familiar, yet deep theological soil. Our study is going to be peering into both the baptism and temptation of Christ. Mark’s account will be our starting point, and the gospel of Matthew will provide our detail.
Now some may ask, “Why not spend this week on His baptism, and next week on His temptation?
That was my initial thought!
What do the synoptic gospels do with Christ’s baptism and temptation? They tie the events together. Not to mention Mark takes us there immediately. Mark my words we will see the connection!
First we must get our thinking straight on the Kenosis, or self-emptying of Christ.
Let us remind ourselves the context of this Scripture is a call for humility of mind among believers in light of the Person of Christ.
What was the mindset of Christ?
We are first shown His pre-incarnate state. His eternal existence and deity.
“Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.”
In other words, Christ has always been; being the same yesterday, today and forever. Forever worthy of all honor, glory and praise!
What do we see in this text? Christ willingly stepping down from His place of glory without grasping on to it.
“but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”
As one teacher says, “The sovereign assumes the status of a slave.” He did not hold on to what was rightfully His, neither did He exploit it while on earth. In order to die in the place of man the eternal Son had to first become one, yet without sin.
What then did He empty himself of? His pre-incarnate position. He did so without diminishing His Person. Notice:
1.) It was a self-imposed emptying.
2.) It involved the addition of humanity, and not the subtraction of deity.
Jesus did not give up any aspect of being God. He was not some demigod, but rather fully God and fully man. Charles Ryrie says, “There was a change of form but not of content of the Divine Being.” We see the Creator stepping down and humbly subjecting Himself to the limitations of His creation. We see the God-man showing us what complete dependence upon the Father looks like, and what it truly means to be subjected to His will. Let us not fail to see:
“and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.”
Who was He obedient to? The Father!
Consider Christ’s words to His disciples in John 4:
“…My food is to do the will of Him Who sent Me, and to accomplish His work.”
We can now turn out attention to Mark 1:9-13.
Why was Christ baptized by John?
If we recall John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.
In fact people needed to bear fruit in keeping with repentance in order to be baptized by John.
Did Christ need to repent? No, Jesus had no need to repent. He was sinless! Not only by choice, but by nature. Listen to John’s reaction at Christ’s request:
Realize John is telling Jesus here that He does not have to repent, indicating Christ is without sin.
Why then did Christ seek to be baptized?
Look at Jesus’ response:
Jesus says “to fulfill all righteousness.”
Meaning to do everything God required.
Is Jesus fully God? Absolutely!
Is Jesus fully man? Absolutely!
What was God’s will for man? To be baptized by John.
Remember Luke 7:28-29 where the Pharisees had rejected God’s will for their lives by refusing to be baptized by John. If this is what God commanded man to do, than Jesus must do it being fully man.
What then does the humbled and emptied Christ, worthy of all honor, glory and praise; demonstrate here to me and you? Obedience to the Father’s will. Christ fulfills all righteousness because that was His Fathers will for man, and since Jesus had been made in man’s likeness He obeyed. We then read:
The word for opening here is Schizo. It is a Greek verb conveying forceful tearing. In fact, Mark will later use it to describe the temple veil at the death of Christ:
“…and the veil of the temple was torn (Schizo) in two from top to bottom.”
Out of the tearing heavens comes the Spirit upon Christ, and a voice:
“…Thou art My (The Father) beloved Son (The Son), in Thee I am well-pleased.”
We see perfect fellowship among the God-head. Mark records that this happened immediately. It is not, however, the only immediate event that unfolds in this context.
The temptation of the God-man! We will go back to Matthew’s account for he gives more detail pertaining to Christ’s temptation.
Know Satan’s chief purpose was to get Christ to work independently of His Father! Striving to get Him to exploit His deity and circumvent the limitations set upon mankind.
Think about it:
What does Jesus show us through His baptism? He will not work independently. We then see Satan specifically gearing temptation to get the God-man to do so. This means no ordinary man is going to experience these particular temptations, because they call for Christ to utilize His divine attributes. Satan’s methodology, however, is identical to what we will face in this life: Lust of the eye, flesh and pride of life.
Let us read the entire text first:
1.) Turn stones to bread (Lust of the flesh).
The Father’s will for the Son was to live within human limitations. For Jesus to satisfy His hunger through divine means would be contrary to the Father’s will.
2.) Jump from the pinnacle of the temple, and be caught by the angels (Pride of life).
This was a test of Christ’s messiahship. Satan was asking Jesus to use His divine authority in a self-glorifying manner. Israel was already expecting the Messiah to come in as a great ruler.
What do you think would have happened if Christ descended from the top of the temple in the hands of angels? Israel would have embraced Him as the messiah they were waiting for. This was an attempt for Jesus to establish Himself as King without the cross.
3.) Gain all the kingdoms of the world in return for worshipping Satan (Lust of the eye).
This was an attempt to expedite the inevitable. The Father had already promised to give the nations to His Son. Satan is appealing to the humanity of Christ knowing full well for Christ to submit here would have eternal ramifications.
Do we notice there is one solution to all three? The Word of God.
How did Christ obey His Father? Submitting to His will found in Scripture.
How did Jesus live a life of dependence on God? Knowing the Word of God!
Luke tells us Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit”.
What does a person full of the Spirit show? Complete dependence upon God’s Word.
A Spirit-led individual is one who hears and obeys the Spirit inspired Word. All Scripture is God-breathed, Theoneustos. That is exactly what Christ is showing us here! Living on the very Word of God. Therefore, if we want to live a life of dependence on God, we must turn to His Word alone.
Psalm 119 demonstrates the sufficiency of the Word of God in the life of the believer. Lewis Sperry Chafer in speaking on Christ’s temptation says:
“He conquered as man may conquer – by the Word of God, which Word is to be cherished as the revelation of the divine will to which man should be submissive.”
To Whom do we bow? Do we work independently of God?
As humans we never cease to worship! The object of our worship, however, changes.
Know the results of Christ’s temptation regarding the believer:
1.) Sensitive and understanding
2.) Grace and power
 Hebrews 13:8
 Basic Theology, Charles Ryrie; Page 262
 John 4:34
 Matthew 3:7-9
 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; NT Number: 4977
 Mark 15:38
 Psalm 2:7-9
 Luke 4:1
 Systematic Theology: Christology, Lewis Sperry Chafer; Page 82