Jesus. We know He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, the King of kings and Lord of lords (Hebrews 12:2; 1 Timothy 6:15). But we can easily lose sight of this awe-striking reality as we go about our daily tasks. This is only increased as we experience seasons of upheaval, uncertainty, waiting, or suffering—a lot like what many are presently experiencing.
How do we remember the profound reality that Christ is the Suffering Servant, obedient to the Father above all else? How can we personally experience this reality and then share this life-giving truth with our groups in transformative ways?
We can start by studying and letting ourselves think more deeply on these realities of Jesus. Then, we can pose questions to ourselves and others.
As a starting point, consider this timely Bible study selection:
The Father declares His pleasure with the Son.
Read Mark 1:9-11.
John the Baptist came preparing the people for the arrival of Jesus. But Jesus would not be the conquering king the people expected; God had sent the Suffering Servant prophesied by Isaiah. The people of Israel needed to understand the humility of their king, but they needed to understand His greatness as well. John confessed that he was not even worthy to untie the sandals of the One coming.
Jesus’ hometown was nothing to brag about, consistent with the circumstances of His birth. Nazareth was a backwater village, the wrong side of the tracks which nothing of notoriety ever came from. Jesus left this remote village of no reputation and was baptized by John to begin His earthly ministry.
But why? We know from John’s message that he was calling everyone everywhere to repentance, and that the sign of repentance was baptism. But Jesus was—and is—the perfect Son of God. He had no need to repent of sin because He was not a sinner. So why be baptized by John?
Jesus’ baptism was, first of all, an issue of obedience to the Father. In the Book of Matthew, we see that John did not want to baptize Jesus because of His greatness. Who was he, John—the forerunner, to baptize Jesus the Messiah? If anyone was baptizing anyone, it should be the other way around. But Jesus explained that His baptism was not for sin, but rather to obey the commands of the prophets. Even from the beginning of His ministry, we see Jesus’ priority was to do exactly what God had sent Him to do.
But there was another reason for Jesus’ baptism. He was baptized to identify with sinners. Though Jesus was not a sinner, He was to be counted among the sinners. By being baptized as sinners were baptized, Jesus associated with those who needed to repent and believe. A few years after this, He would identify in a deeper, more profound way, when He would take the sins of the world on Himself at the cross. He who knew no sin would become sin so that we might be given His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
So Jesus, the perfect Son of God, went down into the water and came back up. It was a shadow of what was to come. Jesus would go down into death as the sacrifice for sin and come back up, raised to new life never again to die.
Jesus identified with sinners in obedience to the will and plan of His Father, and His Father expressed His pleasure. The text tells us that immediately the heavens were torn open and the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove. And the Father pronounced His approval: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased” (Mark 1:11).
This same pronouncement that was given to Jesus because of His perfect obedience is credited to us because of that same obedience. When we believe in Jesus, His perfect righteousness is credited to our account, and we are positioned as the children of God.
How amazing to hear this from on high. How amazing to be adopted into God’s family, co-heirs with Christ. How amazing to be counted righteous in Christ. How amazing to know that God has not made a mistake when He formed us and when He called us into His family. How amazing to hear, because of the gospel, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!”
Why is it important to remember that Jesus’ priority was obedience to the Father, especially as you walk through seasons of suffering?
What practical difference does it make to you, as a Christian, to know that your Father in heaven is pleased with you?
The above content is excerpted and added to from the Gospel Foundations series, Volume 5: God With Us – The Gospels. Find out more about this Bible study which studies the life of Jesus here or learn more about the entire series here.