Trust this Good News Let us pray…. Rev. Stuart C. Buisch
What are the building blocks of trust? This season we have been in has been troubling because we can’t be face to face with others. Surely that is one of the best ways to build trust – spending time face to face with the one we are trusting.
Mark sets o
ut to help his church or readers to know the Christ he has met through his friend Peter. As we read through Mark’s gospel we will see Peter having an influence in the telling of this story. First, Jesus wasn’t a surprise for the Jewish people who knew the prophetic literature. Mark connects Jesus to those texts and wants us to know that there was a consistency and connection between the prophets and Jesus.
In the time that Jesus came to earth religious Jews were involved in sinful practices. Their history, like ours, was littered with success and failures in terms of faith. Times when the trust was deep and evident and times when the living was easy without God. Jesus’ arrival was one of the easy living times. John paved the way for repentance but only just. He brought the idea of faith back onto the screen of life but he knew his presentation was limited and only a starter.
Secondly, trust is not possible in faith without the help of the Spirit. John baptized with water but the Spirit was coming with the messiah.
So Jesus comes to John to be baptized. Showing not his sinfulness and need for repentance but clarifying that the act of repentance displays a dependence on God. Each time we admit we are wrong, we are also admitting God is faithful, right but most of all forgiving. We need to be forgiven. Forgiveness empowers us to be open to trust and increasingly deeper trust in God.
Jesus had specific work to do. Work that could only be done in concert with the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ baptism includes an experience with the Spirit that Mark records ‘Jesus saw.’ Seeing has always been a marker for faith. Moses saw the bush aflame but not burning. That kind of seeing suggests he didn’t just notice, he looked. In every household there are those who can find something and those who cannot. Looking for something lost requires the acute vision to see the edge of the thing you are looking for under several layers. Perhaps Jesus was watching for the Spirit, perhaps Jesus was aware of the difficulties that lie ahead and knew he needed the strength, wisdom and assurance that the Spirit would provide. I seldom ask for the Spirit’s help before I do something wrong but when I am aware of something profoundly difficult, I have been most grateful for God’s help through the Spirit as I pray.
Mark doesn’t give details about the forty days in the wilderness. Moses doesn’t give details of the forty years in the desert. No doubt for Moses there was remorse about killing the Egyptian, maybe not. Both men were at the brink of new work, a new era. Mark tells us Jesus was tempted by Satan, among wild animals and angels took care of him. We are not sure what the wild animals were like. Was it like Daniel and the angels that kept the lions from being hungry?
Whatever happened Jesus came out of that wilderness experience with John arrested and Jesus saying, Now!
Now is the time. Now is the day. Summer is the time for ice cream. Way too often after we
finish the meal we say “let’s get ice cream.” We seldom say now but we mean now.
In the church we need to capture this now. We need to find those who have had a difficult time
this last year and be with them now– card, call, text, some way that is clearly now.
We are called to change our lives and our hearts. We are called out of our self-preservation and
called to look for who needs us now. Who needs to remember that God loves them now?
Trusting this good news means that Jesus was not on vacation from Glory. He had work to do.
He was building an understanding of faith that included an ever-present Spirit ready to help and
to stir trust in us now for the good news of life in Jesus Christ.
In the name of the Creator, the
Redeemer and the Sustainer, amen.
Most High, source of all love and peace…
Humble Servant of suffering and redemption, work your will in me…
Spirit of Grace, Peace and Poise, empower your strength in God’s people now…