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.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
I received a prank call a couple of months ago from what I can expect was some bored yet creative teenagers who just punched in 10 random numbers to see who they could annoy at 3 a.m. I was comfortably sleeping in my bed and shot up to the sound of the call wondering who could possibly be in trouble to find myself talking to someone who was asking to speak with Iona Pigg. I had to chuckle a little bit but it was quite the discombobulating feeling to go from such a range of emotions, startled-concerned- relieved-annoyed-amused, in one moment. I felt so warm and comfortable in my bed and a moment later I was shaking with so much emotion that I couldn’t go back to sleep.
The Gospel story in Mark takes us through a similar situation; Jesus being baptized-Jesus being tempted- Jesus proclaiming the Good News. When was Jesus supposed to catch his breath? While I’m sure there were some details between the lines that the author of Mark is omitting, I have a feeling even to Jesus this period in his life could have felt a little discombobulating. I can imagine God’s call upon his life during baptism was affirming and encouraging. I can imagine being in the wilderness for forty days might have felt lonely and even scary. I can imagine his friend John being put in prison causing frustration yet inspiration for his mission.
Within our own journey of Christian discipleship we see similar strands of the experience of Jesus. We often feel affirmed, lonely, scared, frustrated and inspired; sometimes all in one moment. We can find the good news in knowing that as people of God Jesus knows our journey. As the Spirit led Jesus, we so too are led through our own life’s journey (discombobulating experiences and all) connecting us with others who are along the path so we might know that God is near. We will then be led with others to places where the Good News of God’s kin-dom needs to resonate and come to fruition. We will be inspired along this discombobulating journey to live into the vision God has for the world.