During his time in the wilderness, Mark tells us that Jesus “was with the wild beasts.” These are ambiguous words. On the one hand, they may represent danger and threat; the presence of the beasts is a sign of the danger Jesus faces.
On the other hand, they may be a sign of hope and reconciliation, meant to recall words of the prophet Isaiah: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Whichever way we interpret the words, they are helpful. We are in the midst of many dangers; there are times of insecurity and threat. But in the danger, Christ is with us, leading us into a future when all things will be made new, the broken will be mended, and enemies will become friends.
Dear God, we are sometimes afraid. You have sent your Son to give us a hope transcending our fears. Pour your Spirit upon us and grant us your gift of peace among all peoples. Amen.