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.”
This reading is just full of information about those early days of Jesus' mission on earth. He comes out of Nazareth, is baptized by John the Baptist. A voice from heaven announces that he is the son of God,the spirit drives him to the desert for forty days, he is tempted by Satan,he leaves the desert, and announces to all who would hear that the kingdom of heaven is near. He finally says repent and hear the good news. That is a lot!
Where do I start. Since it is Lent, lets begin with temptation and repentance. A few days ago several of you were here for the Ash Wednesday service. We each received ashes on our forehead as a reminder that the day would come when we would return to dust. We are mortal and the time we have on this earth is precious. We are all tempted by one thing or another. We have to keep in mind the Jesus was tempted as well. Temptation never gives up.
We have our own wilderness to deal with. It may not look like the wilderness of this story but it is really there. In our wilderness there is the internet, bills to pay, violence in the media and the ever present aches and pain of getting older. It goes on and on. It is how we conduct ourselves in this wilderness that makes the difference and I believe that is where the good news of the new testament comes to play.
Did you know that gospel is a Greek word and that its English translation is good news. So, if you have ever wondered if there really is any “good news” in the gospel please know that what is expressed in the gospel is literally the good news.
In Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus tells us how to live our lives. He models for us how to live. He shows us a way to manage ourselves in this wilderness that tempts us to stray away from a path full of love and kindness.
During Lent we spend time in prayer and repentance. We know that we have strayed from living the good news that Jesus gave us. We also know that God is a loving God and that when we pray for the guidance we need in our lives He will give it to us.