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Mark 1:12. And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
In today’s scripture from Mark, we read the story of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus in the river Jordan. As Jesus emerges from the water, the Spirit descends upon him and a voice from heaven calls him “the Beloved.” Then immediately, the same Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness.
In the wilderness, Jesus is tested. Satan tempts him. Wild beasts surround him. At the same time, the angels stay with him. After these forty days, Jesus begins his ministry. The testing in the wilderness appears to have prepared Jesus for the temptation and difficulties he must face as he makes his way to his ultimate destiny: death on the cross and his glorious resurrection.
Few of us choose transformation on our own. We might say that we wish to change our lives or break bad habits or build good habits, but we are unable to take that first step. Something—or sometimes someone—must drive us to the harrowing work of change.
The Spirit descends on Jesus, identifying him as the Son, and at the same time that Spirit must drive Jesus into the wilderness. The same love that calls Jesus “the Son” must also push him to embrace his calling through time with temptations and wild beasts.