February 19, 2024 - 8:00am

Lenten Meditation: February 19, 2024

Lenten Meditation: February 19, 2024

Daily Scripture Passage: Mark 1:1-13

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. — Mark 1:12-13

Mark’s gospel is brief, but ferocious—spare, haunting, and always on the move. The same Spirit that descends like a dove immediately drives Jesus out into the wilderness. You could say there is an interesting logic to this, that Jesus is named and claimed as God’s child at his baptism. He is grounded in his identity, which means he is ready for whatever comes next. We cannot begin a ministry without first knowing who we are.

I’m also struck by how Mark’s gospel makes space for contemplation. Absent the familiar temptation narratives of Matthew and Luke, there’s space for the mind to wander—how was Jesus tempted? If I were in the wilderness, what might tempt me? Mark says that Jesus is “with” the wild beasts—I’ve always assumed that meant danger, but does it? Perhaps this is a peaceful co-existence, a prefiguring of the lion laying down with the lamb. And the angels waited on him…rather than a divine waitstaff, the verb in that sentence is diakoneó, meaning to serve or to minister, the same root of our deacon. So even in his time of greatest temptation and privation, Jesus is in a relationship with heaven, with the angels who function as God’s messengers.

All of us are subject to temptation, without a doubt. This season is meant to be a time for us to reflect and repent, to consider well who we are trying to be in this world. What would it mean to take some inspiration from Mark’s Jesus—to be in harmony with the larger world, and to hear the message of our fundamental identity as God’s children.

Next post