1st Sunday of Lent – What about the wild animals…??? (+ audio)

Jesus with the wild animals

Mark 1:12–13            And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Mark makes is seem that Jesus was on some kind of safari with National Geographic! Out there with the wild animals. Really? What’s going on here? Well, as usual, I have a proposal for you to consider about the wild animals.

The Greek word is thurion. It can be translated as “beast” or “monster.”  (How cool is that!)

Being with the wild animals situates Jesus in the heart of the human struggle. He truly has taken on our humanity – in the desert and throughout the gospel.

He truly has taken on our humanity – our ‘leprosy’ and uncleanness to cast out our alienation from God…

Leviticus 11:27            All that walk on their paws, among the animals that walk on all fours, are unclean for you; whoever touches the carcass of any of them shall be unclean until the evening,

He truly has taken on our humanity – our rebellious nature in his mild obedience

Leviticus 26:20–22             Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit.  If you continue hostile to me, and will not obey me, I will continue to plague you sevenfold for your sins. I will let loose wild animals against you, and they shall bereave you of your children and destroy your livestock; they shall make you few in number, and your roads shall be deserted.

He truly has taken on our humanity – our basic terror of things that go bump in the night so he might bring our fears to light

Wisdom of Solomon 17:18f             Whether there came a whistling wind, or a melodious sound of birds in wide-spreading branches, or the rhythm of violently rushing water, or the harsh crash of rocks hurled down, or the unseen running of leaping animals, or the sound of the most savage roaring beasts, or an echo thrown back from a hollow of the mountains, it paralyzed them with terror.

He truly has taken on our humanity – our idolatry in which we make others pay for our insecurities so to free us to welcome God’s mercy

Hosea 2:17–19             For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be mentioned by name no more.  I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.  And I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.

He truly has taken on our humanity – our arrogance & isolation so as to heal us and bring us back into relationship

Zephaniah 2:15             Is this the exultant city that lived secure, that said to itself, “I am, and there is no one else”? What a desolation it has become, a lair for wild animals! Everyone who passes by it hisses and shakes the fist.

He truly has taken on our humanity – by bringing the promise of peace by taking on our fears, idolatry, arrogance, & rebellion

Ezekiel 34:24f             And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.  I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild animals from the land, so that they may live in the wild and sleep in the woods securely.

He truly has taken on our humanity – Let us bless the Lord!

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