The Holy Gospel: February 26, 2012 (Year B)

Read:  Mark 1:9-15

Meditation:  “Now Hear This!”

We only read of God speaking outloud a few times in the Bible.  This is one of those times.  We trust the “whispers” of God through the Spirit; we must pay attention to the “voice” of God when God chooses to communicate with us in this way.

In his typical rapid-fire manner, Mark takes through Jesus’ baptism ,temptation , and ministry launch in seven verses.  If it were not for the synoptic gospels, we would have no details about any of these three significant events.  There must have been an oral tradition circulating, or Mark would surely have not left these events to chance.

So, we have to ask ourselves, “Why does he treat them in a way that makes them seem to be connected:  baptism, temptation, announcement—-all together?”  I think it may go back to what God said—God’s “now hear this!.”

“Now hear this”—-Jesus is my beloved son.

“Now hear this”—-Being beloved does not remove the possibility of being tempted.

“Now hear this”—Temptation does not eliminate a person having a valid ministry.

Rapid fire—one overarching “now hear this” created by three specific events.

I think there is a “now hear this” for us in this threefold experience of Christ.  We are God’s beloved (something Henri Nouwen was put on the earth to emphasize).  Temptation can happen to God’s beloved; it is not a sign of God’s displeasure.  We can have a valid ministry even having to experience temptation; in fact, by God’s grace, we can use our temptations as places to stand to reach out a helping and hopeful hand to others.

“Now hear this!”  Not a bad way to begin Lent.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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