Summary: Jesus began his ministry with at least 2 significant events -- his baptism and his temptation.

1. Greatness During Watergate

Back in 1974, Richard Nixon's administration was falling apart due to the Watergate scandal so, to divert everyone's attention from that, he planned a trip to Russia and Italy and two of his closest aides came along... Alexander Haig and Ron Ziegler.

Even though' Nixon's presidency was collapsing, these two men were concerned with which of them was the most important man in his administration. In fact, their rivalry became so intense that (during the trip) each of them had a team that actually measured, down to the inch, ... the distance from THEIR beds to President Nixon's! They figured that the closer they were to Nixon's bed, the more important they were.

They both wanted positions of importance and influence, and they sought those objectives to the point of absurdity.

a. Sounds like the disciples

b. Sounds like most of us

2. Contrast with Jesus -- Mark 10.45

3. Consider Jesus' Preparation for MINISTRY

I. The Ministry of Jesus

A. Jesus Ministered to People (Mark 10.45)

1. Poor and Rich (Luke 8)

2. Outcasts (Lepers; Woman at Well) and the Included (Pharisees)

[2 sons -- 17 and 5 -- teach in different ways based on maturity; Jesus' "harshness" to Sadducees and certain Pharisees is grace in action

3. Sick and Well

4. Sinful (John 8) and Saints (John 3)

5. Demon-Possessed and Free

6. Jews and Gentiles (united in Jesus)

7. Adults and Children

B. Jesus Ministered to People with:

1. Miracles

2. Words

3. Presence (reason we are here)

4. Authority -- Matthew 28.18; 7.29

II. The Ministry of Jesus Had a Clear Beginning

A. Baptism in the Jordan

1. Age 30 -- "Full of Vigor"

2. Purposes of Baptism

A little girl asked her mother, "Mommy, why do you cut the ends off the meat before you cook it?"

The girl's mother told her that she thought it added to the flavor by allowing the meat to better absorb the spices, but perhaps she should ask her grandmother since she always did it that way.

So the little girl found her grandmother and asked, "Grandma, why do you and Mommy cut the ends of the meat off before you cook it?"

Her grandmother thought a moment and answered, "I think it allows the meat to stay tender because it soaks up the juices better, but why don't you ask your Nana? After all, I learned from her, and she always did it that way."

The little girl was getting a little frustrated, but climbed up in her great-grandmother's lap and asked, "Nana, why do you cut the ends off the meat

before you cook it?"

Nana answered, "I had to; my cooking pot wasn't big enough."

We do a lot of things in life, and seldom stop to ask why. We develop habits and traditions, and if we're not careful, we can forget why we do certain things...Baptism?

a. Ceremonial Purity

b. Conversion of Gentiles -- "Born again"

c. Initiation of High Priest (Leviticus 8.6, 12)

In Leviticus 8:6 we're told that - by the instruction of God -- "Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water."

Then, later, during that ceremony Moses "poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him." Leviticus 8:12

(Jesus -- immersed and anointed by the Holy Spirit)

d. Repentance/Forgiveness of Sins (Mark 1.4)

1) Jesus had no sin (Hebrews 4.15)

2) Proved Righteous Example (Romans 3.24-26)

3) Doesn't Command what he won't do

A Few years ago I met Dale Robertson. Most knew him as an actor and heartthrob for the ladies. Some may know that he was a WWII hero. Daryl Bond introduced me to Dale and I asked him about his service in WWII (not his acting). One of the stories he told me was about the time he and his driver took their jeep and drove up and down a dirt road, looking for landmines. It was here that he taught his driver Psalm 23, and they quoted it together. What was interesting is that he told me he had every right to command his men to find the mines. However, he said he would not order them to do anything he wasn't willing to do.

4) Today -- Acts 2.38; Romans 6.1-6 (womb and tomb)

5) Refusal? Naaman -- 2 Kings 5

3. God's Witness (2 witnesses = truth)

a. Voice (Psalm 2.7; Genesis 22.2; Isaiah 42.1)

b. HS as a Dove

B. Testing in the Wilderness [slide of Negev

1. The Test

a. Attempt to sin

Little Alexander was trying to save all the pennies he could in order to buy a baseball bat. But he had a hard struggle. One night when he was saying his prayers, his mother heard him say fervently: "O Lord, help me save my money for a baseball bat. And, God, please don't let the ice cream man come down this street!"

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