Sunday, March 1, 2009
Day Five- March 1
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.’
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;* repent, and believe in the good news.’
The gospel lesson for today offers us Mark's usual sparse description, with lots of details left out and lots of room for wondering. It's hard to imagine life in the wilderness for forty days; it's easy to imagine the multitude of ways in which temptation visited him. But without the description that other gospels provide us of his Jesus' wilderness experience, without the dialogue between Jesus and Satan of the way in which the tempter sought to bring Jesus down, we are left to imagine all of the ways in which Jesus' spirit would have been put to the test. Whatever your imagination might contain, we know that it must have been a time of tremendous challenge, even for the Son of God.
Eugene Peterson writes this about Mark 1:15, suggesting that the Kingdom of God drawing near or at hand is a prophetic word: "The prophetic world eliminates the distance between God's speaking and our hearing. If we make the prophetic word a predictive word we are procrastinating, putting distance between ourselves and the application of the word, putting of dealing with it until some future date." (Eugene Peterson, Living the Message, p.67-68)
Loving God, You remind us that your kingdom, your realm, your dominion is here and now, not later or in the sweet bye and bye. Help us to change our course, alter our lives, make space and time to believe your good news and to live it. Amen.
Jesus Tempted by artist Chris Cook