Key Verse: Mark 1:12 "At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness."
|Christ in the Wilderness by Ivan Kramskoy, 1872|
Have you ever been forced to do something you didn't want to do?
Matthew and Luke tell the same story with a little more detail and used the verb "led" rather than "forced" when referring to the interaction of Jesus and the Spirit. Scholars agree that Mark is the earliest of the Gospel accounts. Maybe Matthew and Luke didn't like to think of Jesus being forced to do anything.
When I was in college, I lived on the second floor of Parker Hall. I did study there occasionally but learned to go to the library if I really needed to clamp down. There were just too many distractions in the dorm. One of them was a young man who liked to come and visit. I'm not sure what his major was but he always seemed to have plenty of free time. He would go from room to room and didn't really take hints very well.
Once, I was trying to study for an early morning exam the next day and he stopped by. I got ready for bed while he was talking to me - he followed me into the bathroom while I brushed my teeth. He followed me back in to my room while I got dressed for bed. I turned all the lights out except for a small bedside lamp and got into bed. He continued to talk. I finally had to tell him that I was going to sleep now and I would see him in the morning.
Later, I discovered that if you locked the door and told him that he couldn't leave, you couldn't keep him in the room if you tried. He would wrestle you like a madman to get out. This was rather cruel and I'm not at all proud of it but it does show some interesting human behavior. We don't like to be forced to do anything against our will.
Human beings like to have self-determination.
And yet, the Spirit forces Jesus into the wilderness. He just had to go.
I would rather be led than forced to do anything. But then I have to stop and ask myself the question, "How often do I allow myself to be led?"
Breath Prayer: Gentle Spirit, lead me on your path.