The people in the text of Mark were looking for something. They were fed up with the religious leaders of the time and they lived under Roman oppression. The people had hard lives and they needed relief, a sense of hope, and redemption.
Our text for reflection today provides the people relief from oppression as well as hope, forgiveness and redemption through their baptism and the coming of Christ. Let's look to the text:
1:4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
1:5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
1:6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
1:7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.
1:8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
1:10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.1:11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."
Even though John was 20 miles outside of the city wall people were still coming out to him in search of something and John as different as he was offered them a baptism of repentance and forgiveness, pointing to Jesus who would change the world and baptize them in the Holy Spirit.
Once Jesus was baptized the world changed, God was pleased with the humanity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit embodied him for the work ahead.
Today I again ask the question, what's going on in your life that you need relief and freedom from? What are you seeking? How far are you willing to travel or what are you willing to do in order to find peace? I believe that if you continue to seek Christ you will find the freedom, relief, and peace you seek.
In coming to have a relationship with God through Christ, God is pleased with us and the Holy Spirit will come upon us empowering us to go forward changing the world. The world if full of hurting people including ourselves, but as those who know God we go out to the wilderness places of the world inviting others to come, know Christ and gain relief and find freedom through baptism.
This week we will continue to look at baptism in many different ways seeking to more fully understand the need for baptism in our faith.
Be Well, Pastor J.