The kingdom of God is at hand ...

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

This is the first thing that Mark writes in his gospel after sharing a paragraph of text on John the Baptist. Jesus certainly knew John and possibly grew up regularly seeing his cousin. These two were very close in age. John had certainly heard the stories of Jesus' miraculous birth from his parents. Even so, I wonder what it was like for him to see that Dove land on his cousin and hear the Father speak from heaven calling Jesus his very own son?

Jesus' reaction to this revelation from heaven is telling as he removes himself from the crowds and the noise to seek the Lord alone in prayer and fasting. During this time alone with his Father the Lord is not only tested by Satan but empowered and called by the Holy Spirit to a new chapter in his earthly life. The heavenly revelation is refined and, from this point forward, he has a clear message concerning the kingdom of God.

Help me Lord. I need the power and leading of your Spirit.

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