Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
The Firsts are done. The Easter celebration is over. What’s next? Now comes the hard part; continuing the renewal we just celebrated. Renewal will take you beyond what you already know to the recognition of all you still need to know to sustain you. This prayer is both our plea and our evidence of renewal happening in our life. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Mark 1:12 The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him. 14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” [NLT]
I couldn’t avoid the red letters of verse 15 in this very familiar story. This chapter is filled with truths I think I know but I know for sure there are still new kingdom things to ponder. Those things turned out to be the few verses that preceded Jesus’ own words combined with this quote from a commentary on Mark .
“Life would be very different if, instead of yearning for some distant and at present unattainable goal, we did all that we could to bring that goal nearer.” [Barclay]
Forty days of temptation plus a dear friend and cousin who’s been arrested don’t bring to mind a neon GO sign do they? Don’t forget the fact that Jesus was fully human and he’d just endured a long period of Satan making sure he knew that. Jesus was experiencing humanity at it’s lowest point but it became his confirmation that “The time promised by God has come at last!”
There’s another compelling thing to remember: he was fully God. That’s even more important because it’s our evidence that his eyes were wide open to just what his “unattainable” goal was – he would not avoid the cross. That was his painful reality and he still chose to do all he could to bring that goal nearer.
That’s the example Jesus gave us to follow: holiness that defies humanity.