Jesus does not choose to go to the wilderness; the Spirit compels him to go.
Throughout scripture, the wilderness represents more than a lonely, barren place on the map. It’s the place where God’s people confront the ruthless power of temptation; where they wrestle with questions about who they are, where they are going, and how they are going to get there. It’s where Jesus faces the temptations to deny his identity as the Son of God, to use divine power to satisfy his human desires, to find a less costly way of doing the expensive work of salvation.
For all disciples, the wilderness is the barren space between where we’ve been and where we’re going. It’s the empty place between a familiar, comfortable past and an unfamiliar, often risky, future. It’s the soul-searching place where we face the temptations to settle for things that are less than God’s best for us, to take a shortcut to get to Easter without going through Lent, to experience new life without going to the cross.
—James A. Harnish, Easter Earthquake: How Resurrection Shakes Our World (Upper Room Books, 2017)
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And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
—Mark 1:12, NRSV
Prayer for the Week
For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
And he shall reign for ever and ever.
King of kings forever and ever!
And Lord of lords forever and ever!
From Messiah by George Frideric Handel et al., 1685–1759.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Wednesday of Holy Week
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