by Bob Wickizer

Go to the Wilderness
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Genesis 9:8-17, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Psalm 25:3-9, Mark 1:9-13
March 12, 2000

Reveling in this unseasonably warm weather lately takes me back to childhood memories of running through the woods and rivers of the Missouri Ozarks on sultry summer days. This childhood reminiscing recently brought back the remembrance of summer nightfall when the twilight air seemed to explode into a symphony of different bird calls, first with the martins, then the flickers, a mockingbird or two deep in the woods and finally the whip-poor- wills. But of all the summer birds to entertain us the call I remember best was the tenor voice of the Great Horned Owl - "whooooo." As a child I would finish the sentence for my feathered friend, "Who are you?" As an adult, I can imagine that question foremost on Mark's heart as he wrote this Gospel account of Jesus.

Unlike our modern visual media of television and print, the Gospel according to Mark was written NOT to be read but to be heard. So the style is brief, quickly moving and full of repetition so the listener will be sure to get the point. Mark opens with the line "The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ the Son of God." In his first sentence Mark repeats for us an understanding of Jesus that may have been clear thirty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, but probably was not even clear to Jesus at the time. Mark says this person Jesus is the "Christ" or the messiah. Mark also says that this Jesus is the "son of God" which is another way of saying that this Jesus is the anointed one of God who has a special, intimate relationship with God and who hears God's voice.

From his brief opening Mark cuts quickly to the Jordan where John baptizes so that people can repent and be forgiven for their sins, but John also points to the one coming who will baptize with fire in the Holy Spirit. One day, standing in line with the crowds at the Jordan waiting to be baptized is the one of ...

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