Category: Mark

Take a minute to read Mark 1:9-15.

One of the joys of ministry is watching someone be baptized.  It is amazing to consider the symbolism of the event and to watch as the person acknowledges that they were dead in their sins but are now alive in Christ.  Watching a baptism often reminds me of the whole point of all that we do as a church — making disciples of Christ.

Baptism is a powerful event, but it is important that it is correctly understood.  So many people think that being baptized is the end-all of the Christian faith.  What we need to understand is that baptism is not the completion of discipleship; it is the inauguration of discipleship.  Our baptism is the first step in a multitude of steps on the journey of faith in God.  Baptism does not seal our salvation or finish our justification.  Rather, baptism is a first act of obedience and sanctification

Just as baptism symbolizes the beginning of our obedience to Christ, Jesus’s baptism symbolized the inauguration of his ministry.  Right after his baptism, he entered into the wilderness and experienced temptation.  In the same way, when we experience salvation, we then become more aware of the spiritual battle that is all around us.  Following the time of temptation, Jesus began to proclaim the Good News.

Reflection
Our baptism is a symbol, but it is also an event that we can go back to and remember.  Take a few minutes to remember your baptism and what it meant to you then and what it means to you now.  Ask yourself how the journey has gone since that day.  Are you growing?  Are you closer to God or has your faith plateaued?  Ask God to build in you a desire to grow in your faith and in your relationship to Him.

Mark

Take a minute to read Mark 1:1-8

Sometimes it’s easy for us to think that we are bigger deal than we really are.  It is human nature for us to want to be praised.  We want people to think we are important.  We want to be a big deal.  Humility is not one of our best traits as human beings.

As we read the beginning of the book of Mark we see someone who could have easily decided that he was a big deal.  John the Baptist was not just a guy who was preaching in the desert.  He was a guy who had been prophesied to come and introduce the Messiah.  As big a deal as I would like to be, I know that nobody was writing about me in the Old Testament hoping I would come and change the world forever.

John the Baptist could have easily believed himself to be more important than anyone else in history.  He could have taken advantage of his position of forerunner to the Messiah.  Instead, he stayed true to his message and his convictions.  John’s message was not even one that would make someone popular, but for a people who were striving to come to peace with God, his message of confession and repentance struck a chord. Not only was his message on point, but he also lived a life that reflected just how committed he was to this message that God had given him.

Just like John the Baptist, we too have been given a calling that has nothing to do with elevating ourselves.  As Christians we proclaim the Gospel and glorify God with our lives.  When the temptation comes for us to think too highly of ourselves we can remember that our mission has no room for pride or selfish accolades.

Reflection
Take a few minutes to do some soul-searching.  Is it more important for people to respect you than it is for people to see Christ in you? Are you seeking to be known or to make Christ known?  Do people see the real you or the you that creates your own followers?  Ask God to help you resist the temptation of pride.

Mark