In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Summary – John’s ministry had always been done in preparation for and pointing towards someone else. He had said this someone would be much more powerful than himself (v7) and now that Someone has shown up. And powerful indeed, that someone ends up being the King of the Universe! What an important moment in history and an exciting time of fulfillment. Notice also how our Triune God used very special and tangible ways to mark and empower this start of Christ’s ministry. God the Father and God the Spirit speak and lead the Son’s mission.
Insight – This week is the beginning of our Lenten season; a special time of devotion and preparation before Easter. Lent particularly points to Jesus’ time in the wilderness. But notice the similarities between our observance of Lent and John’s ministry: John was calling the people of God to acknowledge their own sinfulness as well as marking this soon coming and special occasion of God’s presence in Christ. For us, that is a part of Lent as well. We always live as a people conscious of Christ’s forgiving presence. But during this season we can especially consider and set apart our thoughts, feelings, and actions before we celebrate forgiveness and eternal life found in Easter. In this way, we will not only be better prepared to meet and serve our King, but we will be better prepared to face life’s temptations.
Child Catechism: Who and what was John the Baptist preparing for? For the soon coming presence and message of the Messiah, who is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Discussion – What are some ways you might personally recognize and mark off this season?
Prayer – Father, we devote all of our lives to you, but in these coming weeks help us to especially reflect upon your Son’s preparation in the wilderness; we acknowledge our own sins and how they may cause us to wander; but please lead us with your Spirit and prepare us well, for your glory, as we build your kingdom, in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Contributed by Malcolm West