Join us today for an episode about the reason we are called to the wilderness...

Today's episode is focused on Mark 1: 9-15...

In today’s Spiritual Foundation Episode, I talk about Mark 1: 9-15.  I share how we all have moments where we are asked to do things we are not ready for.  I also share how this isn’t a punishment but a call to lean into the Spirit.

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Episode 1404: Has Come Near

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1, 404 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:09] Eric Winters: I'm Eric Winters. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling, having the ability to find your best self is key.

[00:00:25] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend. Scott Maderer.

[00:00:36] Scott Maderer: TheSpirit comes and says the Kingdom of God has come near. It's come near here in the wilderness of the world. It's come there where the Kingdom is nearest to us. It's come when we are safe and happy and everything is easy. Or it's come when we are wrestling and [00:01:00] everything is hard. Because the Spirit is there with us.

[00:01:06] Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you,

[00:01:38] In today's Spiritual Foundation episode, I talk about Mark 1 9 15. I share how we all have moments where we are asked to do things that we are not ready for. And I also share how this isn't a punishment, but a call to lean into the Spirit. Mark 1 9 15 says In [00:02:00] those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

[00:02:05] 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 for 40 days.

[00:02:24] 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. So this passage from Mark is about what is often called the wilderness experience of Jesus. Three of the four Gospels tell us that after his baptism, Jesus spent time in the wilderness.[00:03:00]

[00:03:00] John, in his version of Jesus story, Jesus doesn't seem to have time to be alone. He's got disciples to call and he's got parties to attend and wine to make and those miracles take place But the other three are clear that it appears that Jesus needs some time To get things in order or at least that's one interpretation of what he's doing Figuring out what kind of Messiah is he going to be?

[00:03:29] Matthew and Luke describe the conversations in the wilderness, the temptations. That's probably the versions of the story that you're more familiar with. They give us some background into the decisions that Jesus is facing as he launches into his ministry. There's lots of juicy details about what is going on there, and lots of debate about what was the test and how it was placed and what did it mean.

[00:03:55] But in, in this year in the lectionary we get the Mark version, [00:04:00] Mark, who presents the temptation in the wilderness in two verses. He doesn't itemize the questions. He doesn't tell us how rough it was or how hard it was. We almost get bullet points in this version. Jesus was there for 40 days. He was tempted by Satan.

[00:04:19] Of course, it doesn't go into detail about how he was tempted by Satan or what it looked like. Nope. Nope. Move on. Item three. He's With the wild beast. What does that mean? Was he making friends with him? Was he being attacked by him? Was he surrounded by them? Did he fight them? What happened? Nope. Item four.

[00:04:37] He was waited upon by the angels. Do you mean waited upon as in they served him meals and took care of him? Or do you mean waited upon like they were waiting for him to come out of the wilderness? It's just the bam version of the story. Mark is saying we really don't know what happened. In fact, he alludes to the idea that Matthew and Luke are [00:05:00] adding stuff or maybe had other sources, or talked to Jesus and pestered him until he told them what happened.

[00:05:07] Mark isn't really clear, and doesn't really explain exactly what happened, and it seems to imply that it really doesn't matter what the details are, the important stuff is there. Look at the process. In the passage before, Jesus was baptized, the heavens were torn open, a gentle spirit like a dove settles, Jesus is blessed.

[00:05:31] Then that gentle spirit seems to become an irresistible force that drives Jesus out into the wilderness. It drives him. Temptation, wild animals, angels. That's all you need to know, Mark says. The bullet points. And I think about it from time to time, we all have those moments where we find ourselves driven out and doing something or called to do something, dealing with something [00:06:00] that we didn't prepare for.

[00:06:02] Wondering if we're ever going to survive it, if we're going to get through this. There are choices to be made, there are paths to follow. We're not sure which path is the right one or the wrong one. What will bring us back to the blessings of the spirit and what will drive us into deeper conflict? Our first thought when we find ourselves in a lot of situations, or at least my first thought is often, What did I do wrong?

[00:06:27] How did I get off track? Why am I being punished? I wonder sometimes if Jesus had those thoughts. But we would think, surely not, Jesus wouldn't be thinking he did anything wrong. He must have known what he was doing. It must have been his idea to go and spend some quiet time before diving into those years of ministry.

[00:06:51] But the passage says, the spirit drove him out. It sounds like he didn't want to go. [00:07:00] It sounds like it could have been punishment, like God drove Adam and Eve out of the garden. It sounds like getting rid of something that you don't want. Later, the same phrasing is used where Jesus drives out demons and drives out disease.

[00:07:14] It's a way of getting an obstacle out of the way. Jesus drove out the mourners when he wanted to rescue people from the grip of death. The spirit is driving him into the wilderness. The spirit tore open the heavens and drove him into the wilderness. But there in the middle of that, he was blessed with a gentle presence and loving words.

[00:07:41] Yes, he was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, but in the midst of it, he was waited on by angels, emissaries of God. I think sometimes we have an echo of that. in our own lives, where we seem to switch back and forth between moments of love and [00:08:00] acceptance and moments of doubt and fear and terror. We seem to be swallowed up in uncertainty, even while we are truly comforted by blessings of those around us who love us.

[00:08:15] Mark says that Jesus tells us, lean into the Spirit. Even when it's blowing us into uncharted territory, even when it seems to be sending us out against our will, lean into the uncertainty because the spirit won't abandon you. And along the way, there will be moments of blessing and notice them, pay attention to them, remember them, cling to them.

[00:08:39] They're the sustaining times in times of temptation and deprivation. Hear those words, you are my beloved, and let them ring in your ears, and let them overpower the moans of your own brokenness. Let that gentle spirit be what drives you to [00:09:00] embrace the suffering of the world, but to bring healing there, wholeness, and love.

[00:09:07] But if you think about that tension between light and dark, gentleness and suffering, Satan and angels, we can get that tension. And that hope in the midst of despair, that suffering deepens love, that feeling that pain lets us see the light of joy. But it also mentions that Jesus was surrounded by wild beasts.

[00:09:30] Were they there as a danger, a comfort, something to claim, to choose, or to turn away from? Who are the wild beasts? And I think sometimes we're the wild beasts. We are there. He was with the wild bees. Did they attack him and rend him limb from limb or did they lie down and keep him warm? Maybe both. Maybe yes is the answer.

[00:09:57] Maybe some attacked and joined and came [00:10:00] alongside. Some ran from him in fear. Some ran to him in joy. And we have that same choice. We always have that choice. And we aren't told what actually happened in Mark's story, maybe because it is still happening. Every single day, we make that choice. Lean into the spirit, or run away from it.

[00:10:21] Lean into it, and you'll find resources that you can use to face whatever is coming in from the wilderness. And out of that moment, out of that fear, out of that pain, the spirit comes and says the kingdom of God has come near. It's come near here in the wilderness of the world. It's come there where the kingdom is nearest to us.

[00:10:47] It's come when we are safe and happy and everything is easy. Or it's come when we are wrestling and everything is hard. Because the spirit is there with [00:11:00] us. Thanks for listening.

[00:11:09] Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode, do me a favor. Go over to facebook. com slash inspired stewardship.

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[00:11:37] Scott Maderer: it that you'd like to get notifications from us so that we can connect with you on Facebook and make sure that we're serving you to the best of our abilities with time and tips there. Until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures develop your influence and impact [00:12:00] the world.

In today's episode, I talk with you about:

  • Mark 1: 9-15...    
  • How we all have moments where we are asked to do things we are not ready for...
  • How this isn’t a punishment but a call to lean into the Spirit...
  • and more.....

and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." – Mark 1: 15

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About the Author Scott

Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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