Year 2 Day 23
Read - Mark 1:10 and Isaiah 64:1
Message - Alan Burke
In these verse we are given three signs that confirm who Jesus is, the first is heaven being torn open. This is a picture of the sky opening, being ripped apart, darkened room, open the curtains and reveals so much more, this is a revelation of God. We need to go to the book of Isaiah here as those who were gathered from Judea and Jerusalem would have been familiar with how the prophet is moved to instruct God’s people on how to pray for demonstrations of God’s saving power and in this, with eloquence Isaiah pleads with God to make His presence unmistakably clear; he says "Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down…”(Isa 64:1). Rend, tear, the same meaning.
The heavens being torn open here is a revelation for all who had eyes to see, hearts to understands. This great tearing open of the heavens at the baptism of Jesus is the moment that they the people of God had been waiting for, the Messiah had indeed come and was being revealed to them, and to the world in an unparalleled manner. This is the announcement of God’s saving activity.
This imagery of being torn is used in one other instance in Mark’s Gospel, one that no doubt that we are familiar with as the temple curtain (Mk 15:38) is torn in two from top to bottom. In both cases these are barriers being removed between God and man, barriers being torn open, torn apart, supernatural in their occurrences that reveal Jesus as the Son of God. A tear in the curtain at his death at the crucifixion signified that he accomplished his ministry and a tear in the heavens at his baptism signified the beginning of his ministry, this is the glory of the incarnation that God revealed himself to us. The barriers are torn down and torn open, and God is now in our midst.
At that moment the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove which marks the beginning of a new creation, the coming of the Spirit signifies a news creation a turning point in the history of salvation, this was a new beginning. Before we go any further, I want to draw something to your attention, in Mark’s Gospel there are only six references from beginning to end about the Spirit. Yet three of them are here in chapter one at the beginning, verse eight which we thought about last week, verse ten that we have just thought about, and verse twelve that we will think about next week. Half of the references to the Spirit in this opening chapter. Why?
Because Mark wants to make it clear to us, right from the beginning that the Spirit is essential in the ministry of Jesus, and that Jesus when his work here is done will give the Holy Spirit to those who are his. And there is something significant that happens here, this new beginning matters, this start of the ministry of Jesus and the coming of the Spirit matters, as Jesus at his ascension would give us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us (Acts 2). No longer do we need to go to the temple in Jerusalem which was signified was the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom, instead the Spirit of God dwells in the believer, as we are baptised by the Spirit.
Q36 What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’ s love, peace of conscience, (Rom. 5:1–2,5) joy in the Holy Ghost, (Rom. 14:17) increase of grace, (Prov. 4:18) and perseverance therein to the end. (1 John 5:13, 1 Pet. 1:5)