Read: Mark 1:9-11

You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased. (v. 11)

In Mark 1 Jesus appears seemingly from out of nowhere and takes his place in the line of people waiting to get baptized. We saw yesterday that John’s baptism was for repentance, but Jesus did not need that. Still, by letting himself be washed by John in the Jordan, he identified with everyone who did need it, and so with everyone he had come to save. It will not be the last time Jesus identifies with us sinners.

But no sooner is Jesus baptized than immediately (Mark’s favorite adverb) the heavens are violently “torn open,” and a dove descends and along with it a voice of love. Mark tells us that only Jesus saw this and at this point maybe only Jesus needed to see and hear this. We like to think that Jesus always knew everything, was always confident and in control. But other stories in the Gospels give us a reason to think that as someone who was divine but also fully human, Jesus could be tempted, could get scared, could be sorrowful.

The Father’s words of love and the anointing kiss of the Spirit told him he was on the right course. Identifying with sinners as he had just done was the right thing to do. Salvation was on track. The Son was doing the Father’s will. It’s good for us to know that from this story. Perhaps it was reassuring even to Jesus. —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Thank you, dear God, for identifying with us in our sin and loving us even while we were yet sinners. Amen.