v9, Jesus was immersed by his cousin John the Immersionist, with his baptism of repentance. This marked a change in Christ’s life, from secular to spiritual. Jesus was Immanuel, God with us, he didn’t need repentance because He was already righteous, however, before his baptism, he was not involved in the service of being the Lamb of God. He was indeed the Son of God, but now, after his baptism the Son of God would work, live and die as the Lamb of God. See John 1:29. Whenever we are immersed it is primarily to be forgiven and repentance is an immediate reaction to the gospel, which should take on a part of our lifestyle becoming a sheep! But Jesus had no sins to forgive, and his lifestyle was already righteous, so his baptism was a change in service & sacrifice. Two events immediately took place as soon as Jesus was immersed, Firstly; Heaven being ‘torn open’, and Secondly; His Temptation.
v10, The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove descended and remained (Jn. 1:32 “MENO”) on Jesus. This is significant when we read John 3:33-35 “without measure” is shown by the dove staying with him. The descent of the Spirit upon the apostles was tongues of fire resting “KATHIZO”, on them with the sound of rushing wind, which of course soon dissipated, Acts 2:3-4, else how would anyone hear anything of the sermon being translated? What would the purpose of a “dove” serve? Read Ephesians 2:14.
v11, The Voice clarified what John was reminded of, upon seeing the dove, leaving no one in any doubt that God just came closer now to all of them. God was WELL pleased with Jesus. This would certainly give everyone there a sense of privilege to be in His presence. The same pleasure God felt that day is what He feels when he gives anyone the Kingdom today, see Luke 12:32.
v12-13, As strangely as it would seem for a dove to remain on someone, just as strangely Jesus was driven to a desolate place where wild beasts lived, to be tempted by the devil himself for forty days. During the 1st century this would include bears and lions! Not a place to weaken yourself by fasting alone, making yourself vulnerable to even Satan. What kind of courage would Jesus be driven to display? It’s one thing for a human being to be tempted while other people are present, but what about when you’re alone?
v14-15, For now, Mark ends the role of John’s service in prison, here, but his martyrdom is recorded in 6:1. In the meantime, Jesus starts preaching good news about His Father’s dominion, calling it the Kingdom of God, (not an Old Testament phrase). Pleading for people to trust his message and change their lifestyle, because time is running out. In just 4 decades, Israel would lose their Temple and Economy, only to be left to find security, holiness and purpose in Him, or else. Even today Judaism is a veneer of religion with no Temple and enjoys an economy based entirely on historical references and allies in the world, not God! The phrase “Gospel of the Kingdom” is a phrase Matthew uses in Mat.4:23, 9:35 & 24:14, not Mark, but it emphasizes the power of Christ’s message, which is what Mark is referring to here.
v16-20, The first disciples Jesus calls are fishermen. The majority of employed people in Israel are based in Agriculture, so he is starting off with people who are familiar with not fitting in with a common majority. Cicero wrote this about fishermen in this region at approximately 40BC: “the most shameful occupations are those which cater to our sensual pleasures: ‘fish-sellers, butchers, cooks, poultry-raisers, and fishermen” ~ Cicero, On Duties 1.42. Do you ever think that being a Christian is something the world should respect? Do you think Jesus ever intended the world to respect the church? No, He expects the world to respect His Father! The point of this passage is to teach us what Jesus expects of us, that is: To be fishers of people, so that we can be in a real relationship with Him and get home! Every Christian in some capacity and to some degree must live out a love for the lost souls in this world that will give our Heavenly Father, more than just acknowledgement. What is needed from our neighbor is for them to give Jesus their lives! Peter learnt that and said so in Acts 4:12, it’s a matter of life and death.