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Heaven Was Torn Open

Mark 1:10-11

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Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:10-11 NIV

John the Baptist baptized Jesus at the beginning of his public ministry. And, as Jesus came out of the water, heaven opened, the Holy Spirit descended on him, and the Father declared him to be his Son. All three synoptic gospels record this event, with one interesting difference.

When Matthew and Luke say heaven opened, they use the Greek word anoigō, which means “to open.” But Mark used schizō, meaning “to tear or divide.” Mark uses this word one other time, at the other end of Jesus’ public ministry.

Mark says that when Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in the temple tore (schizō) in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). This curtain separated the Most Holy Place, where God dwelt, from the rest of the temple–it restricted access to God’s presence. But God’s tearing of that curtain signified that Jesus’ atoning death on the cross had opened the way for us to come into God’s presence.

At Jesus’ baptism, heaven tore open, and the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. God had come to dwell among us. At Jesus’ death, the curtain tore open, and the way opened for us to dwell with God (Heb. 10:19-20).

We often picture baptism as representing our death, burial, and resurrection with Christ (Rom. 6:1-10). But this description of Jesus’ baptism also paints another picture for us. As we come up out of the grave into a new life, heaven is torn open, giving us access to God. The Spirit comes upon us. And God declares us to be his child.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

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The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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