If your life is anything like normal it will contain many ups and downs.

I've been reflecting on this recently in the life of Jesus. The circumstances of his life took many turns. Mark compresses things in his fast-paced, relatively short gospel, but you cannot read it without being struck by the massive ups and downs in the life of the Lord Jesus. Here he is at the beginning of the book being proclaimed by John the Baptist as the one who has the Godly authority to baptise people with the Holy Spirit (1:8), yet the surroundings are a wilderness and plain old Nazareth. The next thing we know a voice is coming from heaven proclaiming him as 'the Son, whom I love' and with whom God is 'well pleased'. What a dramatic highpoint for Jesus; a moment of ecstasy, affirmation and jubilation.

But where does the story then go? 'At once', Mark says it goes back to a wild-beast-infested wilderness and, even more threatening, to front-line Satanic temptation. The temptation complete (and battled victoriously for us!), Jesus gets the news that John the Baptist, his relative, trailblazer and baptiser, has been dumped in prison. What next, you might ask?

Rollercoaster

Jesus, convinced of his identity and utterly consumed by the need for people to hear the good news, goes out to preach, to call and commission disciples and to heal. It must have been so thrilling for Jesus to see people responding to his teaching, deciding to follow him and having their lives restored. But the venom of his opponents is not far away. Their carping criticism, calling into question his integrity (2:7; 16; 3:22) is compounded by his own family's disappointment in him (3:21).

What about that for a roller-coaster of circumstances? Anything like you experience? Jesus has been there. Jesus has faced it. It's unlikely he just waltzed through it; it wasn't 'water off a duck's back'. He felt it. But we can only imagine he kept coming back and back to the 'You are my son, whom I love'. Go back there to drink in that reality for yourself – you too are a child of the loving Father.

 

(Photo credit: Jvoes)

Andy Bathgate

Andy has been CEO of SU Scotland since 2001. When he's not busy with us, you'll find him playing with his grandsons or in an art gallery with his wife.