SECTION 4:1 Identity if Jesus

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The Baptism of Jesus

What this account says about Jesus for Mark:-

  • Mark saw Jesus' baptism as the starting point of Jesus' ministry
  • It is a supernatural event - the heavens are torn open, the Spirit descends, and the voice of God is heard.
  • This is the first time Jesus appears in the Gospel - Jesus is shown as the Son of the Father. This is important because Chrisitans believe he is part if the Holy Trinity. All three Persons of the Trinity are shown here.
  • God calls Jesus his son - he is the 'Son of God'. Markk does not contain stories of Jesus' birth, therefor this story affirms the divinity of Jesus.
  • Shows Jesus was special - the Holy Spirit descended on him. Shows that God gives Jesus his approval.
  • It uses the damiliar Jewish ritual of washing to represent the forgiveness of sins.
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The Baptism of Jesus

Chrisitans attitudes to Baptism today:-

  • From the earliest days, Christians practiced baptism. The Acts of the Apostles describes a number of baptisms.
  • Most Christians use baptism today.
  • Some Chrisitans believe that at baptism, someone begins their Christan life, the Holy Spirit enters the person being baptized.
  • Usually seen as a Sacrament
  • It washes away 'Original Sin'
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The Baptism of Jesus

Two different opinions about baptism among Christians today :-

1. Many Chrisitans, such as Catholics and Anglicans practice infant baptism, where babies are baptized inside a church, often in a font. Godparents and parents make promises in behalf of the babies - who cannot speak for themselves - and the intention is that the children will confirm those promises personally when they are old enough. Usually, water is poured over the baby's hed (though in the Orthodox Church, where infant baptism is practiced too, the baby is immersed in water)

2. Some Protestant churches, such as Baptists, practice adult (sometimes called "believers" baptism), where adults are baptized, often outside a church or in a pool inside a church building. The person being baptized is old enough to profess their faith for themselves. Some may use running water, such as rivers, and baptism is usually by immersion.

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The Baptism of Jesus

Why the story of Jesus' baptism causes problems for some Christians today :-

  • Baptism is now an initiation ceremony in Chrisitanity, to represent the washing away of sins. Some Christians think we should follow Jesus' example and be baptised as adults. Others think that we should be baptised as a baby to wash away original sin.
  • The baptism of Jesus raises the question 'Was Jesus perfect?' If Jesus was the perfect Son of God, then why did he need to be baptized if he had no sin to wash away?
  • Other Christians argue that it was explained in Hebrews: 'For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in evert way, just as we are - yet without sin.' (Hebrews 4:14-16)
  • Some Christians have a problem understanding the Trinity as in this account all three parts of the Trinity appear separately. However, Christians are taught that God is three in one - so how can the one separate into three?
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