Mark 1:12-15

Immediately is such a shocking word, with no allowance for dilly-
dallying, or even taking one last deep breath. Immediately is how the New Year begins. We count down from ten, and immediately it’s a whole new year. What happened in the past 365 days is left to history. What lies before us is vast and empty, ready to be journeyed into like the wilderness of a barren, snow-covered field—or an unending Middle Eastern desert.

Jesus comes up from the baptismal waters of the Jordan and immediately the Spirit drives him into the wilderness (v. 12). There’s no time to look back. No time to second guess. No time to say, “I don’t want to move forward! I want to stay right here.” The Spirit propels Jesus into his ministry with an urgency. Chaucer was not wrong when he said, “Time and tide wait for no man.” Not even Jesus.

Time propels us forward, too. Maybe you were ready to leave this past year behind. Maybe the prospect of a new calendar and a fresh start couldn’t come soon enough for you. Jump right in. The wilderness awaits, and beyond that, your ministry beckons. But, perhaps you want to keep your toes in the Jordan. Maybe your past year was excellent, and it feels like the Spirit is pushing you forward too fast, without your consent. Remember that though there is no time to wait, God goes before you and prepares your way. Today the Spirit moves with immediacy. But you do not go into the future alone. The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near (v. 15a). Go forward into this new year wrapped in God’s promise of good news. 


How does the Spirit beckon you today? What is the wilderness you must move into now? What is the ministry that will follow?


God who leads with urgency, we know there is a time for stillness. Yet today we celebrate your call for action. Help us to not linger in the past. Propel us forward into the world with a sense of haste, for the need is great and the love we bring is good. Amen.

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