There are no birth stories in the Gospel of Mark. No shepherds or innkeepers, no angels, or mangers. In his no-holds-barred, bare-knuckled approach, the opening scene in Mark’s gospel dramatically portrays a water-soaked Jesus standing in the river against the backdrop of a ripped open sky. Perhaps, like Mark and his gospel and Jesus in the Jordan, we too, should dive right in. Our message, Dive In!, will come from Mark 1:4-11.
Mark 1:4-11 (NRSV)
4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And 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. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He 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. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And 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. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”