Summary: Jesus came as the promised Messiah. His baptism signaled the beginning of His public ministry, which was followed by His triumph over temptation in the wilderness. We have victory through Him. He submitted to God's will to purchase our redemption.
The Submission of the Servant
Mark 1: 9-15
Our text today reveals what most consider the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. Up until this point, even in the other Gospels, we have very little detail about the life of Jesus. From this moment on, Jesus will live His life in public scrutiny.
In the parallel passages within Matthew and Luke’s Gospels, we find more detail about the baptism and temptation of Jesus. There is clearly enough biblical information to preach three separate messages from the text we have read today. However, I want to follow the pattern Mark sets, and look at the verses we’ve read together. I want to examine the phases of the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry as we consider: The Submission of the Servant.
I. The Affirmation of Jesus (9-11) – Mark exposes the coming of Jesus to the Jordan River to be baptized of John. This act of submission affirmed His deity and public ministry. Consider:
A. The Son’s Acceptance (9) – And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. Following the details of John’s ministry, preaching repentance and baptizing in the Jordan, Mark reveals that Jesus came from Nazareth and was also baptized of John. We must understand that Jesus was not baptized because He was sinful and needed cleansing, but rather as an act of obedience to the sovereign plan of God. He publicly identified Himself with God the Father and revealed His submission to Him.
The baptism of Jesus signaled the beginning of His public ministry. He publicly identified Himself as the promised Messiah, the One who came to redeem and save from sin.
His baptism also publicly revealed His total submission to the sovereign will of God to provide the means of salvation for humanity.
Also the baptism of Jesus stood as a profound picture of the Gospel message He would preach and fulfill. It pictured His death as the sacrificial atonement for sin and resurrection from the dead!
B. The Spirit’s Anointing (10) – And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. As Jesus came up out of the Jordan, following His baptism, the Spirit descended upon Him. Those present likely failed to see the significance of this event, but it was necessary for Jesus and His ministry. He was fully God, and He was fully man. He came to earth, in the form of a man, to live a perfect, sinless life, in order to offer Himself the atoning sacrifice for sin. He was able to live that life of perfection because He was guided by the Spirit within. This was in accordance with prophecy of old, Isaiah 11:1-5.
C. The Father’s Approval (11) – And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. God the Father proclaimed His approval of Jesus, affirming He was in fact the Son of God. All who were present that day heard a public proclamation of the Father’s approval of the Son. Jesus received personal affirmation of the Father. That doesn’t mean Jesus doubted the Father, but this served as a reminder of God’s approval of His Son.
This approval ought to bring peace and comfort to our hearts as well. Those who are saved by grace have the righteousness of Christ imputed to their account. God is pleased with the finished work of the Son, and we are accepted based on His works of righteousness! Rom.4:22-24 – And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.  Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;  But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.
II. The Temptation of Jesus (12-13) – Again there is greater detail of Jesus’ temptation in the other Gospels, but Mark reveals much in these verses. Consider:
A. The Directive (12) – And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. This was not some haphazard event of little significance. Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted of Satan. He was literally “urged with force, thrust, and driven into the wilderness.” Jesus would face every temptation we face, and yet He did so without sin. His period of temptation was necessary in His work of redemption. Heb.4:15 – For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
B. The Duration (13a) – And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan. This was not a momentary season of testing, but one that lasted forty days. Day after day, week after week, Jesus endured intense temptation from the enemy. This is consistent with the biblical model we see time and again in Scripture regarding testing – Moses was on the backside of the desert forty years; the children of Israel wandered for forty years; the spies were in Canaan forty days, considering the possibilities and obstacles associated with the Promised Land.