Tag Archives: Mark 1:9-15

Hearing the Voice

Sometimes you need to hear something said out loud.  We may well, suspect it, but you need to hear it put into words.  There is something about a thought, expression or understanding being verbalised that makes it concrete and real.

And who isn’t waiting to hear those words,

I love you, and I’m proud of you?

The Baptism of Jesus

9About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptised him in the Jordan River. 10As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. 11A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”

  Jesus and Satan

12Right away God’s Spirit made Jesus go into the desert. 13He stayed there for forty days while Satan tested him. Jesus was with the wild animals, but angels took care of him.

  Jesus Begins His Work

14After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee and told the good news that comes from God.  15He said, “The time has come! God’s kingdom will soon be here.  Turn back to God and believe the good news!”

Attribution: RIA Novosti archive, image #842747 / Maksim Bogodvid / CC-BY-SA 3.0

You are the One I love, you make me very glad (Tom Wright, p12)

The words of God to Jesus – his voice saying what Jesus, John and those gathered needed to hear.  Verbal confirmation of what they were beginning to suspect.  Yes Jesus is God’s son, yes this is what he’s been talking about for years, yes the new thing I promised is here.

Mark wants us to hear the voice of God at Jesus baptism (p12) – but not only then.  Are we open to hearing God’s voice day by day?  As we set aside time and space during Lent, are we expecting to hear God’s voice?  Are we listening for it?  Will we respond when we hear it?

For as Tom Wright points out, “Those who hear this message, must also hear another one”.

‘Turn back’ – turn back from doing things your own way, from organizing your life according to your own hopes and whims.  If God is becoming king, and if Jesus is being installed as the human king through whom God’s kingdom is now happening, the only appropriate reaction is to abandon our own little hopes and schemes, and let God be God in our lives. And through our lives. (p 13)

God is speaking.  What is he saying to you?

Thank you God

that you speak to me.

That you speak words of reassurance –

and words of challenge.

May I hear your voice,

your word to me,

and respond

This year, I am again following the Big Read using Tom Wright’s Lent for Everyone – Mark.  I’ll reflect here – if you’re following it too, or even if you’re not, please share with me.

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Tempting…

All I desire

Temptation

Heaven 17 sum it up, temptation, desire, giving in to what you want to do – whether it’s good for you or not…

You know you want to, it won’t matter really, just this once

the little voice, that so easily can lead you astray.

In the whirlwind that is Mark’s gospel, in 6 short verses we cover Jesus being baptised, tempted and beginning his ministry.  If you want a fuller version of The Temptation, you can read Matthew or Luke’s version.  But what Mark does is give us the broader picture.

Jesus is baptised, and God declares:

You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased

This is a high moment.  God is confirming what Jesus believed about himself, and what John knew he was waiting for – Jesus is The One, God’s Son is here, living in the world.

But it is straight from that high, that Jesus goes into the desert and he is tempted.  Jesus, the Son of God, is not above temptation.  He has power, authority and being able to do what he wants dangled in front of him, he has a choice to make.

To me, it is good news that Jesus is tempted.  If being the Son of God doesn’t preclude you from being tempted, then we shouldn’t worry when we are tempted to things too – the differenced is how Jesus responded to the temptations that came before him.  We can face temptation every day – a juicy bit of gossip to share, a bit of glory offered, a piece of power that can be grabbed, a wrong path to take… Seeing those temptations is not wrong – it is how we react to them that can get us into trouble.

Perhaps Lent offers us a time to reflect on how we respond to temptations in our life.  What should we be doing?  And what should we be steering clear of? Jesus took time out, faced his demons, and ultimately triumphed over them – that was the foundation on which he could build his ministry.  He knew what his temptations were, the things that could lead him from the path he was called to, and he had put them in their place.  In doing that they no longer held any power over him, they could not surprise him and trip him up.

But perhaps even better news, is that Jesus returned from the desert, from winning his own personal battle with temptations, and went to spread the Good News.  Jesus didn’t keep away from anyone else because he was now too good for them, he didn’t set himself apart lest anyone lead him astray – he came to them, and shared the good news of God – offering them the opportunity to repent and believe.

So even to those who’ve got it wrong, who have given in to temptation, there is an opportunity to stop, turn round and go in a different direction.

Jesus is not aloof to our struggles, but meets us in them and offers a different way.  Will we take it?

The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!

Thank you Lord

that Jesus identifies with my struggle,

that he has been there and faced it –

and ultimately triumphed over it,

sharing that with me

in the opportunity

to repent and believe –

to turn to you.

May I know your power and presence

in the struggles of life,

and your forgiveness

and a new start

when I get it wrong.