“The wilderness is a dangerous place. You only go there if you have to.” Mark’s Gospel account of Jesus’ temptations doesn’t provide many details. But the few details that he does include are telling and they give us much to cling to, as we face the wilderness’ in our own lives. Today we focus on three: 1) Jesus didn’t choose the wilderness, 2) the struggle is long, and 3) there are angels in the desert.
While our stories seem to have little in common, they share on important feature—the voice of God.
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11 I establish my covenant with you that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Gospel Reading: Mark 1:9-15—Jesus’ Baptism, Temptation and Early Ministry
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”