Tear Apart the Heavens!

BaptismIf you come from a more liturgical church, then yesterday was known as The Baptism of the Lord, a day when we remember that Jesus came to the Jordan River to be baptized by His cousin, John. This one event is the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, and the stories recorded in the gospels are loaded with


I could probably write a dozen blog posts on this one story. There are so many layers and details and points that can be made in this one, seemingly simple event.

But there’s one detail in Mark’s version of the story that’s easy to overlook, what with God the Father speaking to His Son and the Spirit making an appearance as a dove. In Mark’s gospel, we’re told:

just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart…

It seems like an insignificant detail. Of course the heavens were being torn apart. God was making His presence felt. What else would happen as the Almighty speaks to His beloved Son?

And yet Mark’s wording points to what is happening, and it is incredible.

Many centuries earlier, God’s people longed for God to do something like this. Their cry is recorded in the book of Isaiah:

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
    so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
as when fire kindles brushwood
    and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
    so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
    you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who works for those who wait for him.

Faced with the injustices of the world, His people wanted God to tear the heavens open and come down to save them. They wanted Him to come and set things right. Nothing should stand in His way. Just tear open the heavens and come, Lord!

By recording that the heavens were torn open when Jesus was baptized, Mark lets us know that God has heard His people’s cry. He has come to set things right. That is why Jesus came. That is what He is setting out to do.

God moved heaven and earth to save us. And now the journey of the cross could begin.

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