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 forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The story of the time in the desert in Mark focusses our minds in a different way than the stories in Luke and Matthew. The most noticeable thing is that Mark does not give a list of temptations and the responses. Mark is quite brief, but that may allow us to look at different things in the story. First of all, this comes directly after the baptism of Jesus. A moment of recognition, the voice of God speaks, “You are my Son…”, the Spirit descends.
The there is a reaction! The Spirit drives him into the wilderness. Jesus doesn’t think, “Oh it might be nice to pop into the wilderness,” he is driven. The same word that might be used to drive cattle to market. Driven!
Jesus is forced to think about his ministry and his calling, perhaps some ideas come together, perhaps a plan, perhaps he sees where it all might end up! But most of all he thinks and prays.
Whatever else you do during Lent, can I suggest that you use the time to think and to pray. Take a good look at your life. Where is it leading? What are you doing with it? Are you satisfied with it? If not, why not? In a spirit of thought and prayer, see what you could do, see what you could change. See what you could be!