Holy Spirit (1:9-13)

Bible Passage: Mark 1:9-13

The opening to Mark’s gospel launches straight into the action, and a fast pace is maintained throughout. Mark moves on from John the Baptist preparing the way to the beginning on Jesus’ own ministry, and the pivot is in verse 9 where Jesus is baptised by John. In these brief verses we see all three members of the Trinity present, with the Spirit descending upon the Son and the Father speaking affirmation over him.

Holy Spirit: Jesus’ ministry begins with the Spirit descending upon him at his baptism. His power for ministry came from the filling of the Spirit, and as such serves as a model for us of the Spirit-filled human. The baptism of Jesus can be paralleled to the day of Pentecost where the Spirit is similarly poured out on the church. If Jesus needed the power of the Spirit to fulfil the ministry he was called to, then how much more do we need to be filled with the Spirit for our own callings?

Sonship: The audible voice of the Father is heard as Jesus emerges from the water, affirming him as the Son. In coming chapters, Mark will build the case of who Jesus is, but here the answer is given right at the start. This affirmation echoes Psalm 2:7 and was likely key component of Jesus’ own self-understanding. The promise of the gospel is that we are adopted as sons and daughters of God and are made pleasing to him, and they same affirmation that Jesus heard is also true for every believer in him.

Temptation: The first thing the Holy Spirit did after filling Jesus was to lead him out into the wilderness. Sometimes it can be easy to think that trials and opposition run contrary to God’s plans, but often God leads us into situations that will stretch us (though he never tempts us himself). Mark does not give us the details about the temptations that Matthew and Luke do, but he does point out that the angels served Jesus through his trials. Trials and temptations are an inevitable part of the Christian life, and we should be prepared for them and look to God for our strength and support when they come along. 

Potential Applications:

  • You could invite people to be prayed for to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • The affirmation as a ‘beloved son’ shows God’s Father heart. You may want to offer prayer for people who struggle to see God as a loving Father.
  • Encourage those who are going through temptation that they can lean on God’s presence and pray for those in such circumstances at the moment.