The First Sunday in Lent – Mark 1:9-15
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This morning we read the story where Jesus was baptized and hears the voice from heaven, ‘“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And he entered into the wilderness and was tempted.
As we begin this 40 days journey of Lent, we are invited to walk with Jesus in the wilderness. And it leads us to see Jesus’ character of humanity as well as divinity, the one who truly was vulnerable.
Reflecting on this story in Mark, first, we see “And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.” Which means Jesus didn’t choose the wilderness. He didn’t choose a wild, unsafe and unknown place. He might don’t want to go and have to resist temptation. But the Spirit drove him. If we think of Jesus as a superhero, we might be disappointed at this part because the Bible doesn’t say he went on his own immediately and fights with Satan. Rather we hear he was driven by the Spirit and he might be hesitant. But I feel a kind of comfort to see his vulnerability because we also won’t choose the wilderness. We don’t volunteer for pain, loss, danger or terror. But the wilderness in our lives happens anyway: the pandemic, snow storms, broken relationships, loss of loved ones, loss of faith… the wilderness happens whether we want it to or not, whether we are ready for it or not.
Does this mean God makes bad things happen to us? Does God want us to suffer?… No, I don’t think so. I believe rather God is ready to be with us, shape and teach us, and redeem us even during the most barren periods of our lives. God continues showing God’s love and mercy, doing God’s work even during the time of wilderness in our life.