February 22, 2021

Mark 1:13 he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

This is Mark’s version of what happened to Jesus after his baptism.  The verse before this says that the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness. I have always thought of the “wild animals” as a bad thing. I even thought of them symbolically as the emotional and psychic beasts that plague our inner world. But one author I read proposed that this is a reference to one of the Advent texts from Isaiah. In chapter 11:6-9 we find “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Was Jesus experiencing this fulfillment of the coming of God’s kingdom through the wild animals in the wilderness? It is worth a thought. When his time in the wilderness was finished, he was ready to proclaim that the time had arrived and the kingdom of God was at hand. Maybe this Lent we can see the “wild animals” of our world through the lens of God’s kingdom? 

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