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.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” Mark 1:9-15
My mother's voices rings in my ears, "you know you are getting close to God when the devil works overtime!" And, it has held true in my life, as I am always finding myself in a good place, only to have my body or my spirit broken by something or someone. We can live a life of faith, yet we must expect both the mountain top experiences and the deep dark valleys. We can one day be on top of the world, in love with everything, and the next day, be starving for any support or any strength.
Jesus is baptized and the crowd hears and sees the presence of the living God. God speaks of great love and pleasure in Jesus, and in baptism they are words for us all. Right afterwards, as Jesus seeks to strengthen his faith and spirit for what lies ahead, he is challenged, body, mind and soul. He knows he is loved and yet his journey includes all of the challenges, pitfalls and pains that break our spirits. How amazing is it that God chose to be in the flesh, just like us? And as long as God is with us, we will often be overwhelmed and saddened by our broken humanity.
Today, I ask God to help me breath when the pressure and pain are too much, knowing that even in the darkest of places, I am not alone. May we all recognize God in the midst of our brokenness, grief and sorrow. May we understand we will be tempted and we will always be surrounded by great love.