Text: Mark 1:9-15
Lent begins with the story of Jesus’ fast in the desert for forty days. This desert time was so important for him, that the whole ministry that followed depended on it. His time in the desert was a time of inner struggle with demons and temptations, problems to be faced before entering into the mission task. Before confronting the conflicts of the world, Jesus needed to face the conflicts inside himself. Don’t think that Jesus didn’t have conflicts inside; he was human, and like us, he had temptations and conflicts that he had to resolve.
He needed the solitude of the desert to grow into full maturity. In these days he had close communion with God. And as the Psalm says, “In secret you have taught me wisdom” (Psalm 51:6). He had lessons to learn. And we have to remember that it wasn’t only in the beginning of his ministry that he dedicated time to spiritual solitude and prayer; it was a frequent practice during even his busiest days. It is a common mistake to think that busy people cannot find time to do spiritual meditation. Dag Hammarskjold, who was General Secretary of the United Nations, had, as one might expect of a person dedicated to world peace, a very busy life. When he died in a plane crash, his collaborators found in his desk a copybook with reflections he had made in times of solitude and prayer. He was a very spiritual person. So were Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other important world leaders.