Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Mark: John, baptism, temptation

Mark 1:1-13 establishes John the Baptist's ministry, Christ's baptism, and Christ's temptation.

All four Gospels talk about John and his ministry.  Only Matthew and Luke talk about Christ's birth.  Apparently, when God inspired Scripture, he felt it more important to talk about John the Baptist's launching of Jesus, so to speak, than about Jesus's own birth as important as that is.  Mark starts his Gospel with John.

In John's era, if a non-Jew, aka a Gentile, wanted to take part in the Jewish faith, he had to get baptized and circumcised, and then the could take part in all the benefits of the Jewish church of the time.  When John came, he called both Gentiles and Jews to be baptized for the repentance of their sins.  This shocked and offended the Jews because they thought that being descendants of Abraham already made them perfect.  They did not think they needed repentance.  But John's baptism shows us all that everyone has sins.  Some maybe obvious such as murder or sexual immorality.  Some are like mine: I'm an introvert and do all my sinning on the inside.  I have angry thoughts, I'm judgmental, I have pride, and I often doubt God because I always want more than I currently have.  All of us need to repent of our sins and be baptized if we have not done so already.

Then Jesus comes and is even more shocking.  Jesus is the only man who never sinned.  He disproves the cliche, "To err is human."  Jesus was fully human and never sinned.  Although everyone else does sin, we cannot use the excuse, "I'm only human."  And here Jesus comes to get baptized!  Jesus has never sinned.  John, his cousin, knows that he has never sinned.  In fact, he says, "I need you to baptize me."

But here is where Christology comes in.  Jesus did not merely die for our sins.  He lived for us so that his perfect life could be imputed to us.  To do that, Jesus perfectly followed every law.  Jesus came to get baptized to obey the law.  And although Jesus did not need to repent, I do every day.  Jesus repented for me and took on the punishment for my sins.  He performed a perfect repentance that I never could.

After that he goes into the desert to be tempted by Satan, and Mark only uses two verses to talk about that unlike Matthew and Luke.  From there, Jesus continued to perfectly obey the law even when it would be easier to not do so.

How do I boil all this theological goodness down to a 25 minute music session.  I will probably pick songs about baptism.  "The River" by Jordan Feliz is one the kids like.  Also, "River of Life" (gush,gush,gush, gush) is easy for the kindergartners.  There are songs about obedience to God even when life is hard such as "Blessed be the Name" by Matt Redman, "Desert Song," by Brooke Fraser.  Also, although kids laugh at me saying "do", I love the song "Do Lord."  It's easy.  Then, I generally want to sing about God's love without singing about Christ's death quite yet, though it is mentioned.  "Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus" is wordy but rocks.  "O How I need You," by All Sons and Daughters is brand spanking new, and I simply want to sing it.  I feel like it is really easy.

As for more fun songs.  I think I want to teach the younger kids the alphabet.  All ages, even 5th grade like "Apples and Bananas".  Hooked on Phonics had some songs on YouTube that are now pulled due to copyright reasons which is sad for me but smart for them.  I have the "A" Song.  Then, I have some good ole dance songs like "If You're a Kid" or "She'll be Coming Round the Mountain."

That is my plan for next week.  Hope I can keep this up!

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