Last week’s teaching was on Jesus’ birth, His growth to an adult, and Mary’s dilemma of faith. I encourage you to read last week’s teaching, “Changing the Rules,” before continuing on.
Mark 1:9-13 “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.’ At once the Spirit sent Him out into the desert, and He was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him.”
One of the things I love about Jesus is His example of living a Godly life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ humanity gives hope to every follower of Christ. His lifestyle is so unlike normal humans who are continually drawn to sin. Was Jesus’ righteousness based on His divinity or based upon the Holy Spirit perfectly indwelling Him? What encouragement and hope do we have if Christ’s righteousness was a result of His divinity? Would I be qualified to fully identify with homelessness if I am wealthy and live on the street one day without money, food, or shelter? Of course not. On the other hand, I would be qualified to speak on behalf of the homeless if I gave away everything I have and lived on the street. Conversely, we would gain little hope from Christ’s life if His righteousness was based on His divinity. The power of Jesus is many things, but two things resonate more than anything else: 1) The forgiveness of our sins through His substitutionary death paying the price for our sins. 2) A perfect life lived through the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection provides abundant hope that we too can live as Jesus did!
Jesus probably knew John the Baptist well. He had probably listened to many of his teachings. We know little about the ministry and work that God was doing in Jesus’ life up to the approximated age of 30. We know that he was probably studious in the Jewish faith. We know from Luke 2:47 that God was at work in His life: “Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.” Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized. We do not know what brought this about, but Mark 1:10-11 tells us what happened: “As Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are My Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased.’” Jesus became metaphorically the first Christian. He gave His life to God and received the Holy Spirit. From that point forward Jesus’ life, purpose, and ministry changed. He moved from a person with a roof over His head, food on the table, a job to earn a living, and friends and family to live life with to none of these. His mother, knowing His divine origin, even had problems with Him. Early in His ministry she came to tone Him down in Mark 3:21: “When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, ‘He is out of His mind.’”
Jesus’ radical change was not from reading the Torah, studying the Scriptures, and attending the Synagogue, but from the Holy Spirit living in Him. Jesus had encounters with the Holy Spirit up to this point, but after His baptism, His life radically changed. This point is often missed today in our churches. It is too easy for people to become Christians in our churches through association and half-hearted activities rather than through transformation. Change comes not by study and attendance, but instead by a deepening relationship with Christ that allows the Holy Spirit to live freely in one’s life. A Christian’s walk with Christ should move from “being captive” to Christian activities to living a life that responds to Christ living in us. Our fruit is seen not as a label and activities, but rather the Holy Spirit powerfully living through us. Jesus was God who became fully man to free us from our sins, so that we could live powerfully through the work of the Holy Spirit in peace, purpose, and fullness.
Philippians 2:5-11 “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Do you know someone who needs this message on walking withing God? Click below to forward this devotion to them.
Here are some Bible studies from Growing in Christ to help your transformative experience in this area: “Your Life in Christ” and “Discipleship.”