Our scripture this week is Mark 1:9-14, taken today from the English Standard Version (ESV).
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon Him; and a voice came from the heavens: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” And immediately the Spirit brought Him out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild animals, and the angels were serving Him.
Jesus came to show how much God loves us and how being connected to Him is the only way to salvation. In John 14:6 He tells us “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” While God reaches out to us in love, it is up to us to say “Yes Lord!” and respond in obedience.
Jesus demonstrated that responsibility by being baptized and enduring the trial in the desert. He didn’t need to repent or to prove His relationship with the Father to anyone, but He did it to give us an example to follow. He was willing to be as human as we are that we might understand the blessing we are offered.
Jesus wants us to be the example as well, turning away wrath with soft words and loving our enemies. We are called to be the children of the light and bearers of the Good News. It isn’t always easy and while our world has changed in some ways, God’s love and His commandments have not.
Gracious God, we are not always the examples we want to be. Help us when anger and frustration threaten to overcome us, remind us of our obligation to You and each other, and put our feet back on the path You intend for us. Amen.