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Episcopal Church in Minnesota
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Lectionary Reflection

Year B, Lent 1
Standard (Episcopal) Lectionary – Revised Common Lectionary
Gospel Lesson

Mark 1: 9-15

[Begin both] In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased."

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. [End Standard Lectionary Reading]

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."


Reflection on Mark 1: 9-15
by Nan Stokes

All of the readings for this beginning Sunday in Lent are involved with water. In the first reading from Genesis, we hear the story of Noah and the establishment of the covenant with God signified by the rainbow. The second reading from 1 Peter talks about baptism as an appeal to God for good conscience, and in the Gospel from Mark, we read again about the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. Bible commentaries have much speculation about the heavens opening up and the Spirit descending like a dove. Was it an event seen just by Jesus – a visionary experience? We can speculate, too, and believe in spiritual experiences during or after baptisms.  But now it is Lent – a time of trials and temptations so we focus on Jesus going out into the wilderness for forty days. We have different thoughts about wildernesses certainly desert experiences were part of the testing in areas of the world where there was a desert. Mark's gospel doesn't say that the wild beasts were hostile, only that Jesus was with them. And the angels waited on him, just as we can know that angels will be around us whenever our wilderness experience becomes more than we can handle. What a comforting thought for this season of deprivation and wilderness! The "beasts" in our world maybe aren't hostile they just need taming!


Printable version


To Reflections on other Readings for Year B, Lent 1

Reflections available at the active links
Standard (Episcopal)
Revised Common
Old Testament (Hebrew Scripture) Reading:
Psalm 25
Psalm 25: 1-9
New Testament Lesson
1 Peter 3:18-22
1 Peter 3: 18-22
Mark 1: 9-13
(this page)
Mark 1: 9-15
(this page)


Nan Stokes (1929-2010) was an active member of St. Edward the Confessor Episcopal Church, Duluth, MN, when she originally wrote this reflection in 2000. We welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to our WebVerger or any MEESC member, or mail them to:

c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the website.


This page last updated 2012-02-23.

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