Read: Mark 1:2-4
The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” (v. 3)
If Jesus’ arrival on earth is a new beginning, a new Genesis, then it makes sense that we begin in the wilderness. After humanity’s fall into sin, the wilderness became a symbol of brokenness. When God created the heavens and the earth, he began by having his Spirit hover over the primordial chaos when all was “formless and void” (Gen. 1:2). God imposed cosmos (order) on that chaos, but once sin came, chaos made a comeback. And nowhere in the Bible is this seen more clearly than in the desert wastes that often get described as being “formless and void.”
The wilderness is a reminder of all that is wrong with our world. So if God’s Christ is going to reestablish an ordered cosmos where life can flourish, then there is no better place to begin than the wilderness.
At one time or another we all find ourselves in situations where we feel trapped in some hot, dusty desert where the sun scorches and the demons howl. Death, unemployment, depression, loneliness: these are the deserts in which we find ourselves lost and wandering around. The good news, though, is that our God in Christ is still very good at entering the wilderness places to make a way for us that is straight and smooth once more. In fact, the wilderness may well be one of the more likely places where you will bump into Jesus even today.
When we are hot and lonely, O God, show us your face in the wilderness.