Mark 1:4-11 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Some important things to realize, when this reading is compared to the way things are today:
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness says John was a performer, as such, who made appearances in places that were not official institutions of religious belief. His performances were designed to bitch-slap the religious institution that was Judaism [today this includes all branches of Christianity, thus is Judeo-Christian], because any religion that calls itself a holy extension of God, but then has nothing but sinners as members is a farce and an insult to God Almighty. Thus, John the baptizer was putting on a show that made fun of the pretense of all religions.
When we read, "Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey," ask yourself when the last time was you went to a church or synagogue and saw some preacher, priest, rabbi, pastor, or minister dress in such a comedic manner? NEVER!!! Then ask yourself, "When was the last time I knelt at some 'to-go' rail and held my hands out like a cup, for somebody to drop a locust into them, to be washed down with some wild honey?" NEVER!!!
The Jews had all kinds of cleansing rituals involving water. They weekly baked showbread and placed loaves in the Temple, in case God got hungry; but they always replaced the old loaves with fresh ones and then the Temple priests ate the leftover bread, because God never had an appetite for the bread the Temple priests placed before Him. A locust, on the other hand, is a destroyer of grain. John the baptizer destroyed the destroyers of physical bread as his means of survival. [Does that make you think of a priest as a locust?]
The use of wine or grape juice by the Jews was a symbol of redemption [Seder cups], whereas Christians see it as the blood of Jesus [Communion cups]. You cannot get redeemed by getting drunk on wine, nor can you get a transfusion of grape juice when your body has lost blood. John the baptizer ate the waste product of bees, symbolic of the sustenance produced for a hive of new life, which has a lingering flavor in the mouth, gives a sugar rush in the blood, and makes one act, rather than want to lie down or pass out drunk. Honey symbolizes the fertility shown by the fruit of the land, as does milk, as do GRAPES: the good fruit of the vine [not grapes stomped on by dirty feet and left to ferment]. John drank honey to receive the good fruit (not the juice) of the vine of God's truth. John the baptizer consumed that which made him holy, not that which pretended to give him a right to claim superiority.
John the baptizer "proclaimed, 'The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.'" Jews then had to understand, just as Christians today must be able to see, the "I" in what John said applies to each and every Tom, Dick, and Harriet that claims "I am a believer!" The state of being that is "after me" is that most divine state of being that "is more powerful than I." That one who is a great elevation to oneself is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is not some mythical figure who sits on a throne next to God, in heaven, as an ethereal being external to oneself, because if that were the case there would never be a more powerful I for John the baptizer to tell people was coming. Jesus was the divine extension of God, as THE SOUL that would become merged with every Tom, Dick, and Harriet soul-flesh, which would make them each and all become the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh. When that transformation takes place afterwards, then rather than go by the name on one's drivers' license, one realizes one is "in the name of Jesus Christ." "I" just got demeaned in value, thus "I is not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of the sandals of the Son of God." Without "I" getting in the way [self-ego], one's flesh just became the Son of God (regardless of human gender).
When John the baptizer said "he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit," it is a mistake to think the human flesh that was Jesus walked around with a magic wand that he could wave [like some Pope], saying, "Domini, Domini, You're all baptized with the holy spirit now. Pay the clerk." The ONLY ONE WHO CAN BAPTIZE WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT is GOD. God baptized Jesus so he was the Christ on earth. Belief in that possibility means you too can be touched by God and be made His Son (regardless of human gender). If you are not so touched, you are still just a worthless "I," which everybody thinks is important, until death comes a calling.
To read, "In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan," says Jesus the human being in the flesh found a need to go to the wilderness and let John baptize him with the water that redeems sin, since the Temple and synagogues [aka churches these days] did nothing towards that end. Jesus might have thought of some Temple priests being boiled in oil for their sins against God, so he wanted to wash those thoughts away [maybe]. Jesus was not going to his cousin John for the Holy Spirit.
When the translation above say, "just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him," the Greek text needs a closer look. That text states (in Greek): "kai euthys anabainōn ek tou hydatos , eiden schizomenous tous ouranous , kai to Pneuma hōs peristeran katabainon eis auton ."
Notice how I have placed the word "kai" in bold text. That is because God does not stutter when He talks to Saints and Prophets, so a meaningless conjunction like "and" is not the divine meaning. The word "kai" puts emphasis on what is said next, such that the reader sits up and pays special attention to the words that follow. That said, those word in Greek should be translated as such:
"TAKE NOTICE: immediately rising up [or, ascending; or, becoming elevated] from this water ["this" = Jesus baptized by John in the Jordan] ,
he experienced [the third person masculine singular must be seen as meaning both Jesus and John] opening that spiritual heaven ,
TAKE NOTICE: this ["this" = "spiritual heaven opening"] Spirit like a dove descending [a statement of "fluttering" in one's heart] upon them ["auton" viable as "them"] ."
This says the presence of both John and Jesus in the Jordan River, for the purpose of cleaning the flesh from sin meant both had truly become sacrifices before God, as servants of the Lord, such that the Holy Spirit overwhelmed both John and Jesus, with an inner feeling that dropped their souls to their proverbial knees, in submission to God, enabling them to both receive the blessings of God the Father. Because John was a true Apostle, also filled with God's Holy Spirit, both felt the power of being Sons of God. Therefore, when Mark wrote of God saying: "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased,” God was pleased with both John and Jesus. Both were Sons of God.
That statement is another than needs language inspection, as it too begins with that special word "kai." The Greek text states, "kai phōnē egeneto ek tōn ouranōn : Si ei ho Huios mou ho agapētos , en soi eudokēsa ." This properly states:
"TAKE NOTICE: a voice came out from within [both Jesus and John] the heaven [which had opened in them] : You [both Jesus and John, individually] are the Son of me , this ["this" = "the relationship as God's Son"] the love of the Christ I give , in you [both Jesus and John] I am pleased to be ."
If you can get your brain around that translation, you will see that both Jesus and John had God's love within the core of their beings - as total love of God from their hearts, minds, and souls - which was what allowed God to take up residence within both of them. The voice of God emanated from each of their lips at the same time, as heaven had opened within their bodies of flesh, from their hearts, minds, and souls. The two were together in water (the element symbolizing floods of emotions), as two becoming united as one, both married to the Father.
If you can see that, then you can become just like both Jesus and John, where you [not some Temple, synagogue, church, or organization] take it upon yourself to wash your sins clean [as John was doing, while also washing others as he washed himself clean]. Then Jesus will come get in the same baptismal pool you use and together both you and Jesus will feel the joy of your souls opening and feeling the flutter of God's Holy Spirit taking up residence, telling you both "I love being in you," … because you love God unconditionally.
The reason this is read during the day of Epiphany is you need to have this flutter land upon you. It must be an emotional experience that remains within you for a lifetime … not some temporary rush once a week, on Sunday.
That state of union becomes impossible if you think only Jesus could ever have that experience. It is impossible if you deny you must leave the crowd of know-nothings and go to the river to wash yourself clean, so you must become John. It is impossible if you look to a church for baptism by water, never once thinking Jesus will come to you to be submerged into your soul, so God can become your Father and you His Son reborn (regardless of your human gender).
R. T. Tippett