In Part 1 we were introduced to the man, John the Baptist. Part 2 is about John's ministry and the introduction to "The One - ECHAD - our Salvation.
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. Mark 1:4-5 nasu
- The miracle baby had become a man:
- Luke 1:66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, "What then will this child turn out to be?" For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
- Luke 1:76-77 "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation (from the Hebrew word Y'shua) By the forgiveness of their sins,
- Luke 1:80 And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
...and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River.
How do you preach baptism? If it were me, I would preach repentance but John preached baptism. He also baptized. The baptism we are familiar with means, to immerse, to put under water. It communicates the Hebrew idea of washing. But to "preach" baptism is to overwhelm emotionally instead of physically immersing. He could preach baptism because baptism has more then one facet of meaning, depending on how it is spelled in Greek. To overwhelm and to immerse are similar ideas but communicate different actions.
The question I have is, Why did the people of Judah and Jerusalem leave the comfort of their homes to go to the wilderness to be overwhelmed by their sin? Why did they submit to being immersed in the Jordan for the remission of that sin? According to Michael Rood's "The Chronological Gospels" this baptism of John took place in winter. There were no hotels or comfortable conference centers in the wilderness. No restaurants or campgrounds with showers and toilets; so why did they go? Surly there were plenty of adequate preachers and teacher in the big city of Jerusalem. The Jordan river ran close to the city where they could be comfortable on their pilgrimage.
Was it curiosity about who Zechariah's son had become? If that was what they wanted to know then they could just ask around. How children turn out is something we like to talk about. I believe that they were not curious, but that they were supernaturally compelled to go. John was filled with the Spirit from his conception. The prophet Samson is the only other baby that was said to be special even from the womb. Everyone I've ever met who is filled with the Spirit had to repent of sin and invite the Holy Spirit into their heart before it could happen. There was something very special about John.
The Hebrew word ECHAD-One The people were supernaturally compelled to come and hear what John had to say; "After me, One-ECHAD is coming." Not "someone is coming" but One is coming. To our English speaking culture, "One" does not have much meaning beyond counting, but to people who had said the SHAMA all of their lives (Hear O Israel... ), One-ECHED, had a very specific meaning.
"Hear (SHAMA), O Israel! The LORD (YHVH) is our God, the LORD (YHVH) is One (ECHAD)!" Deuteronomy 6:4
YHVH is ECHAD (One)! Hebrews are very careful with the name of YHVH. They NEVER want to profane (take in vain) the name of YHVH. By saying "ECHAD-One is coming after me, Judah understood who John meant. They also knew that they needed to be sanctified and washed before they could be in the presence of ECHAD, just as YHVH instructed Moses in Exodus 19:10.
The LORD (YHVH) also said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate (baptize) them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; Exodus 19:10
Confess your sins, repent and be washed. The people came to John to prepare to meet their God. They came from their comfortable homes and beds to be overwhelmed by the burden of their sin, confessing and repenting of it, being immersed in the Jordan for the remission of sin.
Remission of Sin When we talk about cancer being in remission we are saying that the horrible radiation treatment has done its job and the doctor can no longer find evidence of cancer in the body or blood of the victim. It does not mean the person is cured, but that for this season there is no evidence of cancer (which may last to the end of a person's normal life or it may be only a matter of years), the treatment can be stopped. Remission of sin is similar. When there is not evidence of sin, the treatment (confession to repentance) can be stopped... until there is again evidence. Mark tells us that all of Judea wanted to be set free and went to great lengths to find freedom from the cancer that is sin. THIS is how John was to "prepare the people for 'the One' coming after him"
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Mark 1:9
Y'shua-Jesus came from Galilee. Judah is south of Galilee with Samaria in between them. It is almost like saying that John was baptizing in the Snake River in the wild country between Oregon and Idaho. The people came from California and Los Angeles to be baptized by John in the Snake. In those days Y'shua came from Lake Chelan in Washington to be baptized by John in the Snake River.... except that the western states cover a lot more acreage then Galilee, Samaria and Judah. The point being that Y'shua did not come from the religious center of the Promise Land, where the city and throne of his father David was located, where most Jewish people lived, but from the North. Few people even know who he was. He had not attended Yeshiva (Jewish school) or attended synagogue with any of the Judeans who came for John's baptism. John was one of the few people who had any idea who He was.
He came to be baptized, but He had no sin to repent of. He went into the water, just like everyone else, but without sin. Coming out of the water is where the difference was obvious. He did not come out of the water "immediately" (that is a bad translation), instead, He came out "YASHAR" (upright in his relationship to the Almighty). Not since the creation of the first man, Adam, had a man been YASHAR, and then only for a short time.
Immediatelycoming up out of the water YASHAR (in an upright relationship with God), He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; Mark 1:10 corrected
Not one other person, baptized and in remission of sin, came out of the water in a right relationship with the Almighty. Sin in remission is not free from sin. They were still carriers of the sickness of sin, still susceptible of being struck down with sin at any moment. Not so for Jesus. He did not have any sin, it was not even in his nature to sin, a concept that I have a difficult time understanding, but that I believe by faith. Being YASHAR - in right relationship with God, he went where His Father directed Him, submitting fully to Him. He came out of the water just as as He went in, YASHAR - upright in His relationship to God. He stayed the course. Philippians 2: 14-15
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, Philippians 2 14-15
...He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him...
Nothing is ever written "by chance" in Scripture, nor is it written poetically simply for poetry's sake. What I have learned about "like a dove" is too wonderful for me, I can only scratch at the surface.
The Hebrew word for Dove is YWN (Hebrew letters yod-vav-nun sofit). When the Hebrew letter"hey" is added as a suffix to the Hebrew word for "dove" it becomes Jonah. Jonah was one of the rare prophets who came from Galilee. Equally rare, Jonah's ministry was to gentiles. The Hebrew word for dove is also related to the Hebrew word for "wine". Wine is the "drink offering" that is poured out on the sacrifice and the service of the child of the Almighty. (Philippians 2:7). Being controlled by the Spirit of God is comparable to being controlled by wine (Ephesians 5:18). In a very simplistic way, Mark 1:10 tells us that the Spirit of the Almighty God was poured out like the drink offering on Y'shua the sacrifice, in the book of Mark, the servant. It descend as a dove... on the Son of God, who like Jonah, would bring Salvation to the Gentiles.
and a voice came out of the heavens: "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased." Mark 1:11