GOSPEL MESSAGE & RECORDING
In the Gospel Reading today it says that, “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by the Satan, and was with the wild beasts, and the angels ministered to Him.” (Mark 1: 12-13)
In the last two sermons we focused heavily on the Holy Spirit and His work in our lives by way of the second baptism, and Him providing us with wisdom and grace. Now, we are still focusing on the Holy Spirit but now concentrating on Him “driving” us to the wilderness.
The wilderness is a place of desolation. Life as we are familiar with, either plant or human, is not capable in such a place. There is no sufficient water or vegetation.
Spiritually speaking the wilderness has similar meanings. It is a “phase” of our life that occurs where we feel abandoned by God (possibly). There are certain circumstances that have occurred that have caused pain and suffering, either through death, finances, marriage, children. Etc. There is emptiness, a certain loneliness that we feel during this time. Anxiety and fear grips us because we don’t know exactly what is going on. Although such statements are generalizations, I am almost sure that everyone understands what I am talking about because each one of us has felt something similar or same.
It is interesting to point out that the Gospels state that our Lord was “driven.” It denotes that in some way he had no control, rather, the Spirit was taking him to the wilderness. There is a reason for this. God the Father knew the ministry and the depth of suffering that His only begotten Son would have to endure; and as such, the wilderness was a situation that was placed in the life of Jesus to prepare him for his future mission. Likewise, for us as Christians, the Holy Spirit will drive us to a spiritual wilderness so that we can be ready for the steps that are ahead in our lives. Do you find yourself in a wilderness and wondering why you are there? Consider the possibility that God the Holy Spirit is taking you to a spiritual wilderness in order for you, like Christ, to strengthen your spiritual life.
Purging us of sin: God will not tolerate sin in our lives when we declare/proclaim that we are Christian. Situations will occur where the Spirit will lead us to our wilderness. The purpose of that wilderness will be to cleanse us of our impurity and put us on a path of overcoming our sinful behavior.
Detachment from material: We might be overly attached to our things that is, home, car, and money. God will allow financial and material wildernesses to occur so that we can recognize that we need to lessen our emotional and physical attachment to material things in our life.
Preparation: In hindsight we can look back and make assumptions and statements of how things should have gone in our life, or conversely, how well things went. The fact is we don’t know what will occur in the near future in our lives. There are predictions that we can make but overall we don’t know. But God knows when and how things will happen in our lives. This is why God will allow wildernesses to occur, because he wants to prepare us, so that we can be ready for the new season that will take place in our life.