Mark 1: 9-15
In today’s passage, what Jesus struggled to affirm in the wilderness was a message that he received at the Jordan River, verse 11, saying, “A voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you, I am well pleased.’”
The disciples wanted Jesus more famous; to make many sick people better; to do more miracles with amazing stories; then lots of people would get to know him as the Messiah.
However, Jesus spent most of his time with tax collectors and sinners. He was fearless to resist the taboos by healing someone on the Sabbath, by touching lepers and bleeding women, and by being a friend of moral misfits.
Again, Jesus wanted to be alone and to walk out into the wilderness, leaving behind lots of cheers and expectations from the crowd.
I wonder why Jesus wanted to move into the wilderness and beyond. Perhaps, it is because Jesus wanted to listen to a voice from heaven again, not from the crowd, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you, I am well pleased.”
And this is the message we need to hear, to believe, to live, and to declare for every woman and man or sisters and brothers who may have been seeking an oasis in the wilderness.
Like the disciples, we all may want a Messiah who will rescue the innocent and punish the guilty. We always want a clear, helpful answer to our questions. We want to be relieved of the burden of waking up day after day without knowing what we are supposed to do next.
Well, none of those is the Messiah we get, especially from the scripture. Instead, we get one who waits while we find our own answers. We get one who gives suspended sentences to the guilty. And we get one who leads us into the wilderness, a place that crashes our own illusions and expectations.
This wilderness is the place where we meet again and again a Lord who does not conform to our expectations and who does not come in the way we are expecting.
As we began this Lenten journey in 2021, again, in today’s passage we are instructed to turn away from the God who was supposed to be in order to seek the God who is in the desert.
It is almost always a painful thing, to keep going forward in the wilderness, but it is never a bad thing if we listen to a voice from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you, I am well pleased.”