Summary: The wilderness is a learning expirence

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Forty Nights and Days – The Journey to Jerusalem

Mark 1:9-15

Today our primary focus will be related to a wilderness experience. The wilderness is a place of learning. When I looked up wilderness on the internet I found several websites for summer camps for kids that talked about sending kids to experience nature. They would learn how to survive on things found in the wild and how to make shelters and fires. I guess some people want their kids to know how to live like the guy on the TV show “Survivorman”….but with a safety net of counselors. The strange thing was that some of the camps were not for kids at all. They were for adults.

The general idea here is that a wilderness experience is a time of learning, preparation and maturity in a person’s skills. But it sounds like some people CHOOSE to learn things the hard way.

I got one to those email things a while back where children shared some of the important things they learned about life. Here are just a few of them:

“You can’t trust dogs to watch your food for you.”

“Don’t sneeze when somebody is cutting your hair.”

“You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.”

“When your mom is mad at your dad, don’t let her brush your hair.”

“No matter how hard you try you cannot baptize a cat.”

There are some lessons that we learn just by experiencing life. I am sure that many of you would share lessons about people and situation that you have learned the hard way.

In our lives we learn about things in two ways….The first way is simply by experiencing life we learn lessons, good and bad.

Second we make choices to study or experience a subject. Many people would not say that school was a choice but it is. We might be required to attend school as a part of life but we choose how to apply ourselves. What subjects that we will really work on.

Reading books, listen to educational TV programs are choices of how to spend our time.

Today is the first Sunday of Lent. In our scripture reading this morning Jesus is almost ready to begin his public ministry. He goes to John to be baptized. He submits himself to this act which we know that he does not need to do. He identifies himself with humanity and the sinful condition. It is also a sign of the beginning of his active ministry to share the Good News with Humanity that God offers a relationship.

In a way Jesus submitting to baptism was a response to a sign that it was time to begin his work. John the Baptist has appeared on the scene. As he came out to the water we hear that God identifies Jesus, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Jesus receives confirmation of who he is and he also receives approval for his Father. Something we all need both for our earthly and from heavenly fathers.

But, Baptism is not enough. We learn that the sprit of God descends on him like a dove. That is such a peaceful visualization. But something else happens. The spirit sends – in other translations drove Jesus into the desert.

Wither he is sent or driven that is not the kind of help that I personally look to the spirit to provide….

I prefer the spirit to “lead me to green pastures.” To give me peace and comfort…I don’t like the idea that the spirit would lead me away from home and our of my comfort zone.

Which kind of learning experience is this? Life or choice….?

Folks as Christians we will experience the movement of the Holy spirit on both ways. Sometimes life will give us no choice and the spirit equips us to survive, forgive and mature.

But there are many times in our lives where the Spirit sends us toward the wilderness. Perhaps even drives us toward the wilderness. But we have the ability to make a decision….we have free will. We can choose an easier road. We can stay in the city and just visit a park instead of choosing to struggle up a mountain trail.

Lent is a Christian season which matches the arrival of Spring where we set aside time to examine the choices we have made in the last year. We evaluate where we are in our journey and allow the spirit of God to lead us the path, the experiences that God want to use to help us grow in our faith and in service in His kingdom.

Today, I want you to consider your path for the next 36 business days. I hope that you will choose to submit to a harder path from now to Easter.

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