Pastor John B. Franklin Salem UMC
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. As Jesus came out of the water, he saw heaven split open and the Spirit coming down to him as a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with you.” At once the Spirit brought him into the desert, where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days. He was there with the wild animals, and the angels took care of him. After John had been put in prison, Jesus went to Galilee and told people the Good News of God. He said, “The time has come, and the kingdom of God is near. Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News.” Mark 1:1-9
So begins the ministry of Jesus in the gospel of Mark with his baptism in the Jordan River. This was a special baptism because God filled his Son with the Holy Spirit empowering him to accomplish everything he was to do. We have a composite picture of the ministry of Jesus from the four gospels, some with more detail than others and portraying Jesus as Divine King or Savior or Priest and healer of men’s sins. Jesus is everything for everyone as we read the four accounts of His life here on the earth. The very fact that he would come to earth in human form tells us that God’s heart is directed toward us and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to let us know, without a doubt, that he loves us and wants us to love him.
As Jesus traveled around the Sea of Galilee and down to Jerusalem, thousands of people followed him and the Bible says he healed every one. Paralytics, palsies, aliments, and leprosy were all healed and people were made whole and healthy again. People were set free from demonic spirits and restored to normal and able to reenter society. The kingdom Of God was brought near to all those who followed Jesus and the Twelve for those three wonderful years but when the time came for His crucifixion He was abandoned and alone. The Holy Spirit however was with Him the entire way as he spoke those last words on a Roman cross,” It is finished.”
Do we as Christians and followers of Christ Jesus realize the hardship and suffering Jesus endured during His ministry? The throngs of people or the ridicule of the Pharisee’s as with each step, each miracle, He came closer and closer to a lonely cross outside of very city where God had established that His people would worship His name forever. The irony is that the very people Jesus was sent to save rejected Him, putting him to death as He did all of those things out of love for humanity and in obedience to God the Father.
In this Lenten season we are currently observing let us reflect on the ministry of Jesus and realize that He did not stay on that cross, but was raised from the dead for our salvation, the salvation of all humanity. Precious holy blood was spilled as a sacrifice for people’s sins so that all could be made right with Almighty God. Believing in Jesus is how God made a way for all humanity to be redeemed and be made righteous in the sight of a Holy God. Jesus is still the answer to everyone’s needs today. Christians must be sure of what it is we believe. Why? Because we will be called upon to witness to our faith in God to people who are yet to have a reconciled relationship with God come searching and seeking answers to the questions in their lives. Christians need to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit as Jesus was so that we might be empowered and constantly aware of our own relationship with God, ensuring that our lives are pleasing to God in order to minister to those in need of Divine, forgiving, saving grace. As we have received grace and healing let us be gracious and loving and share the gift of God’s Love to all whom we come in contact with just as Jesus did when He was here.