Monday Morning Meditation with Rev. Dr. Emmett Weir
“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my son the beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ 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 1:9-13, NRSV.
“Wilderness” – “A wild region very difficult to live in”. Old English - A place where wild beasts live.
(Concise Oxford Dictionary, p.879).
It is the evidence of humankind spiritual pilgrimage that often experiences tremendous spiritual power and manifestation of divine goodness followed by times of testing and temptation. Indeed, as many Christians can testify, they have faced major temptations immediately after/attending an inspiring service or evangelistic meeting.
Now, such was the experience of Christ himself. For you see, it is recorded in holy scripture that immediately after his baptism by John in the river Jordan, whom he saw the heavens rent apart, who the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove, and he heard the voice of God approve his ministry, he was led by the spirit into the wilderness. There he remained for 40 days, when he was tempted by the Devil. Indeed he faced temptation of the world, the flesh and the Devil. Concisely, he was tempted in every way by the Devil. All the synoptic gospels record the temptations (Matt. 4:1-12; Mark 1;12-13; Luke 4:1-13), and all testify that Jesus, by quoted scripture, triumphed over Satan.
Now, there is much for us to learn from the example of Christ for us who live “In the world today.” For, like Christ, we all must go through the wilderness! Now the wilderness, according to the Concise Oxford Dictionary p.879 is, “A very wild region very difficult to live in. Indeed originally it was a place where wild beasts were able to live naturally. In the Bible it references to the desert region through which the Israelites journeyed on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land on that 40 year journey they faced many challenges - hunger, thirst, the attack of hostile people and of wild beats. But Moses, acting under divine instruction, fed them with manna from heaven, drank water from the rock and overcame their enemies and the attacks of wild beasts. Likewise, Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil in the wilderness. Moreover, very significantly, only Mark points out that he was about to tame the wild beasts.
What then is the main message for us here? In answering this question let us bear in mind that the term “Wilderness” may be used as a symbol of any challenging, hard, unpalatable experience of life. Yes, whatever you are going through which is difficult or demeaning may be described as a “Wilderness Experience.” The good news, the wonderful assurance of our test is that no matter what may be the wilderness you are going through, Christ who defeated Satan and tamed the wild beasts in the wilderness can and does come to guide you through it. No matter what you are going through, God will take care of you.
What is the wilderness experience that you are dealing with now?
For, you may be going through the wilderness of sin and temptation. Jesus who overcame temptation in the wilderness cares, you trust him and so overcame the temptations you are facing or you may be in the wilderness of suffering. You may be dealing with some terrible disease. Christ the great healer is able and willing to heal you as he did when he was on earth. ‘Thy touch is still its ancient power.’
Perhaps, you are in the wilderness of sorrow, you may be mourning the passing of a loved one. Christ who consoled Mary and Martha at the death of their brother Lazarus, will also comfort you.
Yes, no matter what may be your wilderness at this time - sin, sickness, sorrow, disappointment - Christ will bring you through it as you call upon him.
Thought for Today:
“My Lord knows the way through the wilderness, All I have to do is follow.”
Thought for Today With:
~ Billy Graham
“The Devil sees someone who is idle or bored; he knows this leads to temptation or discouragement. The person who is occupied with worthwhile activities is far less vulnerable. Remember the Bible admonition
‘Do not give the Devil a foothold’ (Ephesians 4:27).
From the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil
Through Christ I pray. Amen