Summary: This is about the Anointing, Trials and Ministry of Jesus.
Turn with me to Mark 1.
Read Mark 1:9-15.
There are three things we see in this passage. There is anointing, trial and ministry.
Jesus had to be anointed by the Holy Spirit before he could start his earthly ministry. For the first thirty years of his life, he was a carpenter in the out-of-the-way town of Nazareth. He worked and lived his life with little or no fanfare. He repaired roofs and tables and was basically a handyman.
I find it interesting that he didn’t start his ministry until he was about 30 years old. In Jewish culture a boy becomes a man when he turns 13. For 17 years after becoming a man, Jesus continued to live and work in his hometown. He was not in a rush to start his ministry. When John the Baptist came on the scene, Jesus knew is was time to act. It was time to leave home. He waited for the time God had chosen for him to act.
Sometimes we get in such a hurry to do the Lord’s work, that we forget who’s in charge. We are an instant gratification society. We have microwaves and instant coffee. Did you ever wonder what would happen if you put instant coffee in the microwave? Would you go back in time? We want instant results immediately. We have “real time” everything.
Jesus is told by the Father, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus is assured that he is headed on the right path. Jesus is about to begin his public ministry, and the Father tells him that he is on track.
I believe that we are headed in the right direction. Last Sunday we had an incredible service. The Holy Spirit met with in a wonderful way. I believe that God was telling us that we are on the right track. Sometimes it is easy to get discouraged. Sometimes it’s easy to say, “What am I doing? Why am I doing this? When will something happen?”
Perhaps in the seventeen years between his thirteenth birthday and his baptism, Jesus wondered, “Okay, when am I going to start my ministry? I know the Father has sent me to do something special.” Then when the moment came, Jesus embraced it.
Our moment has arrived. We have to embrace it. We are on the edge of something terrific at the Greenville Church of the Nazarene. I’m not one who runs around very often saying, “God is about to do something.” But I firmly believe that God is about to do something here and soon. Last week I heard a sense of commitment in your voices. I know that we all have a burden to see this Church succeed. Our time is now. We must move, now. We have to be anointed to carry out our calling. We have been anointed to carry out our calling.
The unfortunate thing with mountaintop experiences is that they are often followed with times of trials.
Jesus had just had an incredible experience. The Holy Spirit descended on him and the Father affirmed the job he was doing. Now he winds up out in the wilderness for an extended period of time.
Have you ever been in the wilderness? Have you ever felt like you out in the middle of nowhere with nowhere to turn? Mark doesn’t tell us the specifics of Jesus’ temptation. The other Gospels indicate that it had to do with his power and his mission. Jesus was tempted to abort his mission and set up his own kingdom on earth. The expectation surrounding the Messiah was that he would be a military ruler, and Jesus, fully aware of that, was tempted to become just that.
Some people seem to think that Jesus wasn’t really tempted. I differ with those. Jesus knew that he was headed to the Cross, and that he would die on the Cross. It seems so much easier to just take over and rule without the Cross. The point here is that Jesus was truly tempted, and he refused to give into that temptation.
What is fascinating about this event is that it came immediately after the mountaintop experience of the baptism. Jesus had just heard the Father tell him he was on the right track, and now his is out in the wilderness, tempted to give up on his mission.
We will face times of trials and struggle in the coming months, but we cannot give up on the mission that God has given us. We may be tempted to give up at some point. We may feel like our efforts are not paying off. We may feel like we pushed the boulder up the hill only to have roll back down. Jesus faced the same temptations that we face, and he overcame them.