(2) The Mark Challenge: Chapter One, Verses 1-11

John baptized in the wilderness. This is Israel being called out to the wilderness; the place of decision, the place where their faith (as in their religion) had passed through the water. It is the wilderness where we learn to trust God. It is there we receive the revelation of His Glory and power. It is there we leave everything behind and encounter His Holiness (i.e. God drawing them to Mt Sinai).
John’s was a hard life. In choosing to obey the Voice of God, it led him to the loneliness of the wilderness, the sacrifice of the wilderness, the trials of the wilderness. John chose this willingly. Think of the revelation he received out there. What would have happened if he not gotten the revelations he received out there?! This is where he understood, by the Spirit, who Jesus is! Think about this: he was out doing what God had told him to do; then God literally walks up to him!!!! He was preaching that there was One coming after him that is far above him and he, (John) would fade out. Jesus’ work will be much more powerful and able to make your faith truly effectual; He would baptize you in the Holy Spirit, while John could only baptize in water. This is the Person Who walked up to John seeking to be baptized of him! (By the way, John was the man that, through the Spirit, explained the prophecies of Joel with just one phrase, “He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit”).
Jesus was baptized and when He came up out of the water He saw the Spirit descending on Him in the form of a dove. (Note: Jesus is the One mentioned as seeing this. Don’t mistake me, it seems apparent the people gathered saw this also. But Jesus saw it in order for Him to see that the “Spirit of the Lord is upon Him and has anointed Him.”) This is what John saw (and the people of Israel). They saw the Glory of God come down. John was able to explain this, and no one else! This is the only place this could have happened; in the wilderness!
They all heard the Voice of God! How did John feel?! He is standing there wet with the same water Jesus is wet with, and looking at His face, after just holding Jesus and putting Him down in the water and bringing Him back up, and now the real, audible, powerful, universe creating Voice of God is what he hears! John is the only man on earth that has experienced this! Others have heard the Voice of God; others have seen the Glory of God; others have seen the evidence of the power of God. But no one has ever baptized Jesus! John was the only person to have this measure of “revelation” given to him; not even Moses had this level of experiencing God! This is a revelation because he is now experiencing, first hand, what the prophets had foretold about the Messiah. The Messiah is now revealed to him.
Can you imagine how overwhelmed John must have been? He knew the stories of the wilderness experiences of the Israelites; he knew about the power of God displayed to the Children of Israel and to the Egyptians, but now John is standing face to face with God! The Voice of God speaks to Jesus and tells Him He is the Son of God’s choice, His especially beloved Son and He is well pleased with Him. Has any man ever heard this? Has any man had this level of the favor of God other than Jesus? God led these Israelites out into the wilderness as He had done thousands of years prior. It is here, once again, the Children of Israel are seeing God’s power; except this time it is the “fullness of the Godhead bodily!” John was the man God used to bring all this together in one place at the right time.
John, as the man with a very special role in God’s plan, witnessed The Trinity right in front of his very eyes. He just baptized the Son, he heard the Voice of God, and he saw the Spirit descend on Jesus. As far as I am aware, John is the first man, and possibly the only man to have this close relationship with God. Now, you know the other people gathered there saw and heard this also, but they did not have the understanding and relationship with God John had. John was directly involved in making this coming together of this mighty revelation, at this moment in time, happen! Talk about being born at the right time……….! What are the odds of this happening to anyone? The odds are always stacked in our favor when we choose to obey the Lord; that’s what the odds are!
This is only a very small measure of the lessons to be learned in the wilderness! This is what the Lord has for you in your wilderness experience. The Lord has glory, victory, power, and seeing Him in way you don’t even know is available to you; all waiting for you in the wilderness. John would have never expected this to happen just as you never would expect extra ordinary things to happen for you there either. The wilderness is a place of revelation! (the place where your understanding is opened).