by Christopher Harbin

Immersed into a Mission
Christopher B. Harbin
Genesis 41:28-40; Ps 29:1-11; Mark 1:9-17; Acts 19:1-12

Everything he did was a statement. It was the way Jesus taught. It was the way he lived. It was not that he went around trying to make waves. His very living and being was a statement of his essence, purpose, and an integral aspect of teaching the good news. Teaching and doing were simply two aspects of being. They were natural responses to the mission of his life. Word flowed into deed, and in living he taught the way of God’s reign.

Perhaps the first public statement was his identification with John the Baptist. That is how Mark records the story for us. Jesus did not need any conversion. At the same time, he needed to let his future followers know he identified and agreed with the message John preached. He was the one coming after John, and there was a need to display before all his agreement with John’s teaching and call to repentance and conversion. Words were fine, but words taking action were better.

It was likely a hot day when he went to the Jordan to find John. The crowds would not have been there in the cold or rain. Not that rain was all that common in the sparse landscape. Jesus walked the sweaty path to the Jordan among the throng of humanity gathering to hear the itinerant preacher attired in such meager means. The rough cut John spoke also a rough cut message without the fancy drivel or dressing to soothe one’s ears. He wasted no effort on presenting a polished façade, but spoke right to the point. He told the crowds the truth about themselves. They were not ready for God’s reign through Messiah, for their hearts and lives were not fixed on living out God’s will.

John told them plainly that he was only a forerunner of Messiah. He was the announcer who would herald the one long-awaited. Such was his purpose and mission--to prepare the nation to receive the one they claimed to desire. The truth was, they did not rea ...

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