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The Beginning

The Mall.  That’s where I wish the gospel of Jesus Christ began.

 

Let me explain.

 

Nothing is a better icon of hope and opportunity than the mall.  You may not think so. You are probably too spiritually correct to ever connect hope with the mall.  Maybe you don’t even like going to the mall, but the mall is still the place that says that we can have more than we ever imagined.  At least in the Apple store.

 

Opportunity to have neat stuff.  That's the mall.  Perhaps you have replaced it with the internet, but you know what I mean.

 

Well, as I have begun a teaching series on Sunday mornings at the Gathering Church on the gospel of Mark, one can’t help but notice that the good news of Jesus Christ starts off in a certain location.  The wilderness.

 

What?

 

Shouldn’t the whole messiah thing have at least started in Jerusalem at the temple, God’s house?

 

But, it starts off in the desert.  It begins with a prophecy being fulfilled about a messenger in the desert, and then John the Baptist shows up, and then huge crowds come out to the desert to hear him and respond to his message.  Then Jesus shows up – in the desert, along with the crowds, gets baptized, and then is ‘driven’ further into the desert wilderness.

 

Why the wilderness?

 

The wilderness seems to be the best place to truly meet God, to begin again with God.  Where did Jacob wrestle with God?  In the wilderness.  Where did Moses first meet God?  In the wilderness.  Where did God take a nation of slaves to transform them into a people of his own?  In the wilderness.

 

Why?

 

Here’s one thing about the wilderness:  there’s nothing there.  No way to even stay alive.  No way to settle down. No place to make your home.

 

You’ll die there, unless . . . . you meet God.

 

Tim Keller says only in the wilderness are we left with nothing but God.

 

Now, see why I like the mall better?

 

Yet, I want to want nothing but God.

 

Why do you think the beginning begins in the wilderness?