Mark doesn't address the issues surrounding the baptism of Jesus, but it might be good for us to ask one question. We have read already that John's baptism was one of repentance, so what had such baptism to do with the perfect human, Jesus? Well, as in everything Jesus did, there was a transforming quality to His commitment. For Jesus, His baptism was for four things:
1. It was the moment of decision. For Jesus, the emergence of his cousin John from the wilderness was the signal for Him to begin His ministry.
2. It was the moment of identification. As far as we know, Jesus had led an anonymous life up to this point. Jesus was determined to identify Himself firstly with this Godward movement which John had begun and secondly to identify Himself as the One who had been promised. The signs of His Messiahship would have only been noticed by one or two and even John the Baptist had to double-check later that Jesus was the One.
3. It was the moment of approval. Jesus had decided on this course of action and now He received, at the point of baptism, the seal of approval from the Father and the Holy Spirit. The words of the Father were intended for the ears of Jesus, not for all those in the crowd.
4. It was the moment of equipment. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, coming down as a dove might do. Now, think of John's character and his words and contrast them with the image of the dove. John came to hack away with an axe the legalism and hypocrisy that had become synonymous with the Jewish religion; Jesus came to conquer men and women's hearts, but the conquest will be the conquest of love.
If you have not yet been baptised by full immersion, please think about it, one of only two sacraments required by Jesus. If Jesus was willing to be baptised, why not you?
So, just a few verses into Mark's Gospel and we are right in the heart of the action! What excitement and so much to look forward to as we continue our studies!