Still, it's safe to say that what we have recorded would have needed more than a year to occur. With a nod toward John's symbolism many believe that three years or so of activity and travel -- mostly on foot -- filled the time between his baptism and the cross.
The effect is what matters to me more than any precise chronology. It comes to bear in the way that Mark writes his gospel. You can see it in his use of the term, euyuv/euthys, a word the NRSV translates most often as "immediately." Older translations use "straightaway."
The first time it shows up is at the end of chapter 1, verse 3: "the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.“
In most cases I have understood that use, "making a path straight" to mean being efficient or easy to use. To make it so people can move without impediment or strain. Like an interstate highway instead of a winding mountain trail.
But we are not the ones for whom the way is meant. It's the "way of the Lord." The paths are his.
No wonder Mark makes it feel like Jesus is in an urgent, almost rush from moment to moment. He is. He is because we need him to be. His focus is not frantic but more like a laser. Deliberate, intentional, committed.
The effect of Jesus' ministry doesn't need John's symbolic three years to make its point. From his baptism to the cross Mark shows Jesus' focus to be relentless and consistent, that is . . . straightaway.
We say "Lent is for turning," because we keep straying off the path, leaning away from his gaze, and hiding from the light.
TBTG! His way is towards us. His focus is towards us.
And so on the Second Sunday in Lent we could pray, "O Lord, be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them straight back. Amen." (BCP, p. 218)