Life in the Wilderness
September 18, 2016 Series: The Drama of the Gospel: What It is and How It Changes Everything
Passage: Mark 1:1–1:8
Mark begins his account of the gospel of Jesus Christ with John the Baptist, bearing witness to and preparing the way for Jesus. And Mark roots the gospel in the story of Israel by placing John’s ministry in the context of the wilderness. Our life is a wilderness life. The Christian life is a wilderness life. What do we learn here about life in the wilderness? This passage from Mark teaches us three things. First, life in the wilderness is communal. When Mark gives us John he does so by citing the prophet Isaiah. John is the voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. This roots our life in the story of Israel. We can’t make it in the wilderness by ourselves. And the Christian life roots us in a community and in a story. Second, the wilderness life is dependent. We may not like this too much, but life in the wilderness is a life where we can’t make it without God. The wilderness reminds us that our independence will not sustain us. We are totally dependent on God.
The third and final point is that life in the wilderness is hopeful. And that is because of what Jesus Christ has done for us in going through the wilderness for us. He went through the ultimate wilderness and on the cross lost God so that we would never lose God. He took our punishment, our judgment, our death as our substitute on the cross. And that makes our wilderness life a hopeful life. We still have to go through the pain of the wilderness, but it is not a life without hope. The wilderness life is a hopeful life.