Pew Sermon – Mark 1:4-11

In the Gospels we are told of the life of Jesus and there are two moments when we see Jesus as He truly isJesus, who lives in two worlds at once

He is the eternal Son of God in Heaven, and at the same time He is the human Jesus.

The Gospel writers know this because they are writing their accounts of Christ’s life after the Resurrection. 

Their experience of Jesus’ death and resurrection has led them to believe that He is more than human.

So, they put into their account’s brief moments when heaven and earth meet, moments that show the readers of the Gospels that something extraordinary is happening here, that Jesus is someone special.

John the Baptist has been out in the wild places around the River Jordan for a while, probably quite a few years, and has begun to attract crowds.

People are looking for something new, something that will distract them from their dreary lives under Roman occupation.

John offers a ministry of repentance, a new start.

In him they recognise God at work. 

John himself, though, knows that he is only the beginning of something. The ancient prophecies speak of a forerunner. One whose presence and preaching will show that God is coming.

And so, Jesus appears amongst the crowds and is baptised by John. John’s ministry comes to and end, Jesus’ ministry begins.

But we, the readers, are told more. We are told that that as He is baptised Jesus sees the sky open up and the spirit fly down to Him like a dove.

And He hears a voice, saying “You are my Son, the Beloved: with you I am well pleased”

The next time these words will be spoken will be on the mountain of the Transfiguration, when Jesus has been teaching His disciples about His mission and destiny.

Both of these accounts are about moments when the two worlds, heaven and earth, meet, and Jesus is revealed, for a moment, as He is on the other side.

They come at key moments; as He begins His ministry and as He prepares Himself, and His followers, for His death.

The Magi, when they had travelled so far and for so long to reach the foretold Messiah, they also glimpsed the Glory of Heaven in the body of a little child.

And later still, as Jesus dies on the cross, God’s words are echoed by the pagan Centurion “Truly this man was God’s Son”

Ironically, it’s in His death that Jesus’ destiny as God’s chosen one is completely fulfilled.

The Gospels show us that Jesus belongs in both worlds.

As we, like Him, are baptised, we gain a home in heaven to add to our home on earth.

We too live in both worlds.

We become members of God’s family, welcomed at God’s table.

And even now, in the ordinariness of our everyday lives, if we look for it, we may catch an occasional glimpse of the other world.

Heaven may be closer that you think.