And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
Our Gospel passage for today’s service of Morning Prayer is Mark 1:1-13, the opening pericope of Mark’s Gospel account of the life of Jesus. In typical Markan style, we get a fast-forwarded account of the start of Jesus’ identity and his life.
Jesus is seemingly catapulted from the glorious moment of his baptism by John to being driven out into the wilderness. In the wilderness he is tempted by Satan and lives among the wild beasts and is waited on by angels.
What always seems to strike me in this passage is that Jesus seems to have no control over what is happening to him in these first 13 verses. He is baptised by John in the Jordan and the Spirit descends upon him and he is identified as God’s son and is driven into the wilderness by the Spirit. Jesus seemingly has little say about all of this and is subject to the whim and determination of the Spirit.
How many times in your life have you felt like the confluence of events in your life are mind-bogglingly out of your control–as if you are the target of a conspiracy? When you hit every red light, miss the exit, then can’t find a place to park? And all this when you are already five minutes late. I’ve found that if I pay attention in those moments I see the work of the Holy Spirit. Maybe not at first, but eventually…after the fact, when I look back at the events that took place and the outcome of everything then I see the sure hand of God at work. And, if I’m paying attention I end up learning something about myself along the way.
In the Bible, guess what happens when people are out in the wilderness? Guess who always shows up? God. Where are those moments when you feel like you’ve been driven out into the wilderness with the wild beasts? What can you learn about yourself and about God who never abandons you?
In Christ’s Name,