Lukisan: Alex de Andreis,Pleasant Anticipations
I Peter 3: 18-22
Mark 1: 12-15
“This is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel”
Desert is a dangerous place. There, all creatures compete for each other just to survive. Human, animal, plant have to face all the moments happened suddenly and unexpectedly. At day the weather is so hot and in night so cold. The storm of sand emerges unpredictably that could cause damage for all. The food and the water are hard to find. Sometimes for these desert cheats as if there were water meanwhile in fact it does not exist. It is only found sea of sand and for this reason the compass that guides the way in desert only the sun at the day and stars at the night without which one could be lose. The culture and indeed the gospel say that unclean spirit lives there; desert is the house of Satan. But, even though it is a dangerous place, it is the place where the moment of faith comes from in. The Jewish got the manna when they were in peregrination in the desert. Monks and hermits passed the temptations into the holiness. Many holy persons came from the desert: John the baptizer, St. Anthony, St. Marcarius etc. Jesus himself defeated the temptations there. So, it is the toughest place which keeps its mystery and its holiness also its beauty.
Today the gospel speaks about the temptation. According to Mark, the spirit drove Jesus out into desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beast. So what is temptation? Temptation is an opportunity, a chance that put us to make choice between good and evil; between the kingdom of God and Satan. Naturally human is created for goodness and his inclination and his action are for goodness but the temptation tries to deject this goal. Life is full of temptation because every time we are faced into a choice between good and evil. For example in the business world, you have a lot loan then there is a time a cheat your costumer by giving a broken thing. Or as student, you are tempted to cheat when you find a difficulty in your examination. The mechanism of temptation is so subtle in the corridor of full of pleasure and so convinced when there is now way out so that drives us to choose the evil. Evil is so genius that make us full of false imagination and he tempts us in every direction also attack us in the weakest of ourselves. But of course all things the evil offered actually are vain, nothingness, and destructive results. By the way, our choices determine who we are: when choose evil we are the follower of Satan, when we choose goodness, we are the follower of God. So in the temptation we can know and ask to ourselves that do we love God by our choices.
Life is like the desert and it is scary place where full of wild beast. It is scary place because it can lose us in the journey of it. As the caliph who needs the star and sun to be its compass in the desert journey, so we need a compass in the desert of life. What is that? Jesus. Jesus is our compass in the desert of life. Why? He himself is there; indeed he defeated the temptations and for this reason the angel ministered him. As long as we stick on Jesus, we know the way and the goal, we understand what is good and evil; he empowers us so that we can overcome temptations. The Jesus power and his authority are greatest because as said in first letter of Peter through the resurrection, Jesus Christ has gone into heaven and is at right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him. These words create and confirm our self-confidence to be the follower of Jesus.
The Jesus follower is legally started by baptism. Now, by it, Jesus becomes our conscience because he has lived in heart and his spirit is within the soul. By his resurrection, conscience is a covenant made between God and man in spirit and in flesh which is beyond covenant of Noah. It is everlasting covenant that is written in every heart who believes him. In love, God recalls this covenant through him. We need to keep this new covenant which is our compass in the journey of life. Jesus instructs to do goodness, he guides to do justice, and he teaches us his way through clear conscience.
Clear conscience is gotten by repent and by believing in the gospel. Without them, it will be dark because the repentance is the door to enter the kingdom of God and the gospel is the living light that illuminates the conscience. So, if one has clear conscience based on Jesus Christ then it is like bow appears in cloud of heart and not in the cloud of sky as said in the covenant of God and Noah. The bow appearing in cloud of heart refers that Jesus is always with us and accompanies us during the journey of life. To choose and to follow the clear conscience that is Jesus Christ himself, one is saved from the flood of temptations. Having saved from temptations of course justice, goodness, purity, love, humility grow prosperously in the land of life and become delightful fruit in life. Now by clear conscience, the life is not desert anymore but a garden which is planted with flower justice, rose of goodness, orchard of purity, jasmine of patience, sunflower of love and etc. It is not scary place anymore but becomes a beautiful life under the sun of Jesus.
Jesus says: “this is the time of fulfilment. The kingdom of god is at hand”. This happens when the Satan is defeated and broken down by our choices and our actions for the kingdom of God. And definitively the ways to the kingdom of God are love and truth.
We are weak persons who are easily fall down to temptations, so we need to pray and deepen our spiritual life in order that our conscience is always clear and bright. We appeal to Jesus that he always be our compass in the journey of life as the psalms said:
Your ways, o lord, make known to me;
Teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.
Remember that your compassion, o Lord,
And your loves are from of old.
In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness.
By this prayer and the hope as said in Psalm, now we can sing a meaningful and beautiful French hymn:
In the desert, I seek your face
In the desert, your bread nourishes me
I am not fear to advance on your trace
That your living water satisfies my thirst
I promise to you in justice
I promise to you in love
In fidelity as I have known, I would know!
In the desert, I understand your word
In the desert, far away from the rumour
The memory of your law consoles me
Oh hidden God, you want to speak to my heart
In the desert, I breathe your breath
In the desert, dwells the spirit
It is the force in the morning that pushes me
It is the fire that precedes me in the night