The Call to Discipleship in the Gospel of Mark, Day 3
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And 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. 11And 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. 13He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Mark 1:9-13My beloved. Have you ever had an encounter with the Living God? Jesus has heard of the new preacher and has gone down to the river. He decided to be baptized. Jesus has confessed his sins and through baptism turned to God. But when Jesus comes out of the water, he encounters God. As the water runs off of him, he hears, "You are my Beloved, with you I am well pleased." This is an encounter between Jesus and God. The text does not say anyone else heard. While occurring during a religious event, what Jesus experiences is personal and private. After this encounter, Jesus is pushed by the Spirit into the wilderness. For forty days with the Spirit, the angels, the beasts, and Satan. For those days Jesus has to come to terms with what it means to be the Beloved and having God pleased with him. For those days he is tempted by the power he has been given and must decided how he will use it for good, for God. This is the time he decides how he will live as the Beloved.
Have you has an encounter with God where you could not help but be changed? Where you had to rethink how you would live and be in the world? When I was in my first call. There was no money left to pay my salary. As the meetings occurred they decided to reduce the position to half time. I was having to decided what to do next. My son was finally happy and didn't want to leave. So I was struggling with what to do. The church was struggling not just with money but with growth. So I was questioning what I should do. I was having a bad day. One of those days when the world looks bleak and you wonder why you choose this path. I was in my car driving back to the parsonage. I had the radio on Christian radio. In the middle of the song it just stopped, went silent and then a voice said, "I have called you." There was silence and then the music began playing again.
Those feelings of being in the wrong profession, of not being a good enough pastor, were calmed. This voice helped, me to remember, to remind me of my call. God had called me to preach the Good News, God never promised me it would be easy, that I would always be employed. God never promised I would stay in the same place with the same church. God didn't say where I was called, I was just invited into the journey.
Beloved, with you I am well pleased. These are powerful word. They speak of a love from God that accepts you. Hear those words. Beloved. You are beloved. You are God's Child. You are accepted, you are loved, you are mine.
I invite you to find some water today. Dip your fingers into the water and make a sign of the cross on your forehead. Let the word Jesus heard, "You are my beloved, with you I am well pleased." Let those words surround you with their love. You are my beloved. Let those words remind you that with God there is always love. With you I am well pleased. Allow one of those words to become your breath pray, breathing it in and out.
Down to the River to Pray by Allison Krause