“At that time Jesus came… “
Submitted by: Gordon Gooderham
As John continued to baptize at the Jordan River, a great spirit of repentance moved upon the people of Judah. Under a deep inner conviction of sin against Yahweh, thousands came seeking forgiveness and the promise of a new life. John’s baptism provided the former, a greater than John would fulfil the latter.
Of the many who came to be baptized by John, only one person is mentioned by name. A common name, Jesus, after the great Israelite commander Joshua, this man came from the village of Nazareth. The town had a twofold reputation. Many saw it as the place prophesied in the Old Testament in which the Messiah would live (Matthew 2:23). Other devoted Jews questioned the possibility that any good thing could come out of Nazareth (John 1:46).
“At that time…”, Mark records, this man Jesus from Nazareth approached John to be baptized in the Jordan. He was identifying himself with the will of God. He was identifying himself with the need of men. Rising from the water, immediately something happened to him unlike any of the others. The veil shielding the unseen world was removed and heaven opened to Jesus. There was force in the action – ripping, breaking, tearing – just as the temple veil was torn apart at the crucifixion of Jesus. At the same age, the heavens were opened to Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 1:1) and he saw visions of God to inaugurate his prophetic ministry. Now the parted heavens released the dove of God, the Holy Spirit, who rested on Jesus to commence his redemptive ministry. A third heavenly response came as a voice proclaimed “you are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
At a time in Israel’s history when the heavens were darkened, and enemy invasion was threatening, Isaiah prophesied, “ here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my spirit on him…” ( Isaiah 42:1-9). Eight centuries later, God affirms that the servant to come was Jesus his Son, loved and well pleasing to his father. He will be “a covenant for the people (Jews) and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
Receiving the Lord Jesus as Saviour opens the heavens to all who believe, providing forgiveness of sin and eternal life through the working of the Holy Spirit. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. “