Read: Mark 1:9-13
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. (v. 12)
Mark’s favorite word is “immediately.” Everything in Mark’s Gospel happens at lightning speed. Mark seems eager to show us that there is tremendous power in Jesus! But the first two instances of “immediately” seem at odds with each other. Mark contains no account of Jesus’ birth. Jesus just appears from out of nowhere to be baptized by John. No sooner does that happen than we are told that “immediately” the heavens were ripped open and the Spirit descended upon Jesus. Then come warm and wonderful words of the Father expressing love and approval for Jesus.
But this is where the next “immediately” crops up. No sooner was Jesus baptized than he was instantly hurled into the dangerous and chaotic wilderness. Life is threatened at every turn in the desert. Water is scarce. Heat is abundant. Wild animals lurk. Throughout Scripture, the wilderness is shorthand for evil. It is the realm of demons and of chaos. So if Jesus is so loved by God, why does the Spirit throw him into such danger?
Because if Jesus is going to heal our sin-sick, chaotic world, he needs to go first to the worst of the worst. If Jesus’ presence can bring healing balm to the wilderness, then he can heal everything. And he does: wild animals are tamed. Angels minister to Jesus. Where Jesus goes, chaos flees and cosmos (order and harmony) takes its place. This salvation will one day penetrate every crooked, chaotic corner of the world, and that is very good news indeed! —Scott Hoezee
As you pray, give thanks to God for conquering all evil and chaos.
About the Author
Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.