Summary: As the Son of God, Jesus came to accomplish everything well for our salvation -- all at the right time
Most of us have heard the famous "Who’s on First" routine by Abbott and Costello. The sense of timing is what has made that to be one of the funniest routines in American entertainment.
Timing is important in most everything. The right timing affects the outcome of an event – timing dictates the order things happen and it also sets the pace.
In Mark’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus begins his ministry "at the right time." He didn’t arbitrarily find himself in the role as Savior. He arrived at God’s perfect time. Timing Is Everything. We see this is especially true in Jesus’ life: 1) He Came to the Right Place and 2) He Came for the Right Task.
1) He Came to the Right Place
The stage was set. The time was right according to the world’s history. And God sent his Son. Throughout the Savior’s life, we see that he was sent to the right places. From his birth in Bethlehem, to his resurrection in Galilee, Jesus was always in the right place.
Earlier, St. Mark tells us that Jesus deliberately sought out John the Baptist and entered with him into the Jordan River. At the right time, Christ was baptized. As Jesus walked from the riverbank, he entered into work he came to accomplish – redemption from sin.
Timing is everything. It is true of us as well. Unfortunately, timing is everything bad for us. We have a horrible sense of timing. We sinful beings have a knack to find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. We enter this world in a bad place. We are born in sin. From the moment we are conceived, the Bible tells us, it is in sin.
The time we spend in this life is filled with sin. We commit terrible sins. And we find ourselves in the wrong place. We find ourselves in the wilderness. Our sinful acts lead us into the barren wastelands of depression, guilt, sorrow, anger, and pain.
We often find ourselves alone and hopeless. We find that we are harassed and helpless. Temptations to fall into sin are great. The temptation is there for us to take counsel from the devil, the father of lies, rather than from Jesus who speaks only the truth. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
Consider the consequences of taking such advice! Each of us has to admit there is the temptation to conform to this world, to listen to the devil as he urges us to grab glory and success for ourselves in this life, our own hearts deceive us and insist we give in to selfish gratification. And we’re convinced that we are headed towards an oasis – fleshy desires are pleased under the shade tree of sexual promiscuity and perversion, there’s an unquenchable fascination to sip the sweet waters of instant satisfaction; we demand constant, cheap and easy entertainment, we must line our pockets with expendable cash, and spend every ounce of effort on pleasing our every whim and fancy.
Soon our paradise becomes a wasteland, our oasis a desert. Instead of finding cool comfort in the shade of sexual perversion, we find that the heat of guilt and shame bear down on us. The sweet water of materialism sours into a cesspool as we realize that we can’t quench our greedy thirst for more. We never have enough!
And so we find ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. And, yet, the Bible declares: “At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.” We are familiar with the temptations Christ endured. St. Mark doesn’t record them for us, but we’ve learned them. The devil challenged Jesus to prove himself to be stronger than temptation. Change stone into bread: The temptation to use power for the wrong purposes. Jump from the temple: The temptation to gain popularity by testing God. Bow down to Satan: The temptation to idolatry.
Christ was tempted in every way we are, yet he was without sin. Sin’s purpose is to lead us away from God and to trust in ourselves. Satan wanted Jesus to sin, so he would away from his heavenly Father, away from the work of redemption, and towards his own needs and desires. If the devil could have gotten Christ to fail, then he would surely have us all.
Make no mistake, though. These words are written for our comfort! It was necessary for Jesus to be cast out into the wilderness. He had to encounter Satan; the one responsible for bringing sin on the entire human race. Jesus entered the wilderness of temptation for us, so that he could grapple with Satan in our place. He endured every one of our temptations, so he could overcome our weaknesses and prove to be faithful in place of our faithlessness. Timing is everything. Jesus proves he is our Savior by allowing himself to be in the right place at the right time. He faced Satan on our behalf.