Mark 1:9-15
Jesus’ Baptism
When Jesus was baptized by John, there were the presences of triune God—Father God, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Holy Spirit came down like a dove. God’s voice: “This is my beloved Son whom I am well pleased.”

Why does Jesus, who is not a sinner, need to be baptized at all?

Although Jesus did not need to be baptized, he did in order to be identified with the sinners in the world. He did not commit any sins. He was the One who give the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Jesus humbled himself when he came into this world as a human baby. Once again, Jesus humbled himself by being baptized by John the Baptist. Moreover, by being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus demonstrated a public act of commitment to the way of God.

Temptation in the Wilderness
Mark’s Gospel says that the Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the wilderness. We are told only that Jesus was with the wild animals and that the angels waited on him. Why wilderness? Why did the Spirit of God drive Jesus into the desert? Professor Barbara Brown Taylor said, “The desert is not only a physical place. It is a spiritual place where we can engage the self-examination and repentance commended to the faithful during Lent.” Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days. While he was in the wilderness, he was with wild animals and the angels served him. Moses stayed on top of the Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34). Elijah traveled for 40 days to Mr. Horeb—the mountain of God (1 Kings 19). After the forty days, Moses received the Ten Commandments. After the forty days, Elijah heard the voice of God.

Lent is 40 days of journey—a time of preparation. It is a time to examine our hearts and to restore our relationship with God through genuine repentance and spiritual disciplines. During Lent, we can either give up something or take on something extra as a spiritual discipline. At the end of Lent, we will be ready to celebrate Easter, just like we will be ready to celebrate Christmas at the end of Advent. Yes, Jesus also spent 40 days in the wilderness. At the end of these forty days, Jesus finally began his public ministry. God prepared Jesus in the desert for his upcoming ministry.

Our Bible says that Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days in the desert. Even though Mark does not describe how Satan tempts Jesus, Matthew and Luke describes it in detail (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13). They said that Jesus fasted for forty days. The devil tempted Jesus three times.

#1 “If you are the Son of God, order these stones to turn into bread . . .” (body)
Ex. Food, Adultery . . .

#2 “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down . . .” (mind)
Ex. Fame, honor, hate, and jealousy can lead people into violence.
Joseph’s brothers, all the gun and domestic violences

#3 “All this I will give to you if you kneel down and worship me . . .” (soul)
No wonder why Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and money.”
Ex. Judas Iscariot fell into this temptation and sold Jesus for money

The Devil stills tempts our body, mind, and soul—our entire being.

Jesus Began His Ministry
He said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent, and believe in the good news.” This is the message you and I heard. This is the message we need to share. God prepared Jesus by letting him to be baptized by John the Baptist. God prepared Jesus by driving him into the wilderness and let him be tempted by the devil. After the forty days of Lent, we will also be ready—ready to hear God’s calling; ready to do His will; and of course, we will be ready to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday! God bless you!

Let us pray.