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Life of Christ, section 3: Jesus's ministry begins

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Notes from Life Transforming College International Course No. 202: The Life of Christ

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Life of Christ, section 3: Jesus's ministry begins

  1. 1. The Beginning of Ministry John the Baptist Baptism Temptation
  2. 2. John the Baptist (JTB) Jesus began his ministry sometime soon after that of JTB. JTB was from a priestly family - possibly better off than his carpenter cousins family Although Mary and Elizabeth had met before their children were born JTB and Jesus seem to have very little knowledge of each other. John has been associated by many with the Essenes - it appears likely he met them but he is more dissimilar than similar. Mark 1: 4-8 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the River Jordan. 6 John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And this was his message:‘After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8 I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
  3. 3. John the Baptist (JTB) Jesus began his ministry sometime soon after that of JTB. JTB was from a priestly family - possibly better off than his carpenter cousins family Although Mary and Elizabeth had met before their children were born JTB and Jesus seem to have very little knowledge of each other. John has been associated by many with the Essenes - it appears likely he met them but he is more dissimilar than similar.
  4. 4. Similarities: 1. Location - in the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea 2. Belief in the fulfillment of Isa 40:3 3.Ascetic lifestyle - repentance, purity 4. Baptism / immersion 5. Prophecy about baptism with/in Spirit and fire in relation to coming salvation / judgement However, JTB appears to have baptised in other places, Jn 1:28, 3:2 Ascetic: characterized by severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons
  5. 5. Similarities: 1. Location - in the Judean wilderness near the Dead Sea 2. Belief in the fulfillment of Isa 40:3 3.Ascetic lifestyle - repentance, purity 4. Baptism / immersion 5. Prophecy about baptism with/in Spirit and fire in relation to coming salvation / judgement However, JTB appears to have baptised in other places, Jn 1:28, 3:2
  6. 6. He was more prophet than priest with similar clothing / message to Elijah - denial of being Ej was probably about being a literal figure (Mal 3:1, 4:5,6). Luke 1:17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous – to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ Mark 9:13But I tell you, Elijah has come...” Symbolism of baptism in the Jordan - cf. entry of the people into the PL by going through the Jordan
  7. 7. The Message of JTB Mark 1:2-6, Luke 3:17-18, John 1:19-51- Mark 1:4 = best summary - Jews might have already had some idea about baptism (for initiation etc.) - JTB calling for a once for all repentance (metanoia) was unique for Jews - the equivalent Hebrew word shuv also indicated a dramatic change of action too - the baptism can be thought of as “baptism produced by repentance” or “baptism characterised by repentance” Steps leading down to the Mikvah, or ritual bath, at the settlement of Qumran at the northwestern edge of the Dead Sea in the JordanValley. 
  8. 8. - forgiveness of sins - Greek eis = for - Blomberg suggests this means “directed towards” or “with reference to” - rather than the baptism granting forgiveness - JTB recognised one coming after him who he was not worthy of and who would baptise with the Spirit Additional comments from Matt/Lk - a comment warning the Jewish leaders who had come for baptism to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” - additionally the baptism will be with fire as well as Spirit
  9. 9. John’s gospel - JTB is a witness to Jesus - emphasis on who JTB is not - Andrew and another disciple transfer from JTB to Jesus - Peter, Philip and Nathanael (Bartholomew) are also mentioned - Jesus is called, Lamb of God (29), Rabbi (38), Messiah (41), Son of God (34) and King of Israel (49) one written about in the Law and prophets (45) - Jesus sees Nathanael under a fig tree - a promise of future blessing (1 Kings 4:25, Zech 3:10) - heaven open, angels ascend/descend on the Son of Man - see Gen 28 - meaning is uncertain
  10. 10. A few final things: JTB and Jesus overlapped in ministry at some time - Jn 3:22-23 Jesus started to overtake JTB who was gracious (acting as a bestman) - Jn 3:30 - John was imprisoned (in a fort at Machaerus)for criticising Antipas for lying with his brothers (Philip) ex-wife Herodias
  11. 11. - Matt 11:2-19 JTB sends messengers (from prison) to Jesus, he had some form of doubts (possibly influenced by the way things were happening) - Jesus refers to his miracles to reassure JTB and affirms JTB’s ministry using high praise - JTB is put to death at the request of Herodias / Salome Mk 6:14 - even in death JTB prefigures Christ’s death
  12. 12. Jesus’ Baptism Mark 1:9-11 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan.10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.11 And a voice came from heaven:‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’
  13. 13. Jesus’ Baptism
  14. 14. Jesus’ Baptism
  15. 15. This is the key commissioning event for the ministry of Jesus - Matthew is clear in declaring it was not for sin, in fact stating JTB tried to stop Jesus and asking to be baptised by him (3:14ff) - completion and fulfill here might indicate approval of what JTB was doing - also an identification with the failings of Israel as a whole and therefore repenting for them - Jn 1:29 indicates Jesus then as the one offering atonement for sin for the whole of humanity
  16. 16. - something like a dove appears Matt 3:16,17 he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said,“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” - doves symbolised peace, love, divinity, but most probably here the Spirit of God at creation, Gen 1:2 - God speaks, Ps 2:7, Isa 42:1- son and servant both messianic names - God declares Jesus the Messiah - the Trinity is involved here - God speaks, Spirit descends, Jesus is the man
  17. 17. Jesus’ Temptation Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said,‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ 4 Jesus answered,‘It is written:“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”[b]’ 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple. 6 ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said,‘throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘“He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”[c]’ 7 Jesus answered him,‘It is also written:“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”[d]’ 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 ‘All this I will give you,’ he said,‘if you will bow down and worship me.’ 10 Jesus said to him,‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written:“Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”[e]’ 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
  18. 18. Baptism does not launch Jesus into an immediately successful and powerful ministry - instead a time of testing follows immediately Matt and Luke have long accounts, Mark is short but includes the wild beasts Angels served him - which means? 40 days - similar to Moses before receiving the Law, and the 40 years wandering in the wilderness God’s Spirit initiates the test - the devil is the agent through whom temptation comes God tempts no one (Jas 1:13) and is not evil - yet He can see his sovereign purposes fulfilled through temptation
  19. 19. 3 temptations: 1.Turn stones into bread 2. Be supernaturally rescued from death after leaping from the temple 3. Receive all the kingdoms of the world in return for worshipping satan There are parallels with Eden and 1 Jn 2:16 Heb 4:15 sums it up Jesus Adam & Eve 1 Jn 2:16 Stones to bread Tree good - food Lust of flesh All kingdoms Pleasing to eye Lust of eyes Spectacular life saving Desirable for gaining wisdom Pride of life
  20. 20. - the devil recognises Jesus’ sonship - Blomberg suggests a better translation is,“since you are the Son of God” - the devil is trying to seduce Jesus into taking the easy route - Jesus uses scripture to defeat the devil - Dt 8:3, 6:16, 13 - satan uses scripture too, Ps 91:11-12, but misapplies it - no mount of temptation is recorded - we do not know if the temptations were physical or mental
  21. 21. - we do know for the temptation to be real Jesus had to be capable of sinning, yet he resisted and remained sinless - just as his temptation was like ours so his atonement could be for substitutionary and vicarious for us
  22. 22. TTFN Ta Ta For Now

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