Posted on May 29, 2013
#4: Trial in the Wilderness
Thanks for joining our study on Mark. Our goal is to know Jesus. We need to know Him if we’re to become more like Him! Keep in mind that Jesus’ role as the Word in flesh was to express or demonstrate how God would live as a man. (Remember lesson one?) When we look at Him, we see the Father.
In the last study blog, we looked at Jesus’ baptism. Now, we’ll see the intense test that followed. How would God handle temptation? Pick up your Bible and see!
Read Mark 1:12-13.
Also read Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13.
These three scriptures record the same event, occurring right after Jesus had been baptized by John. After having been in human form for thirty years, Jesus had watched heaven open, had seen His beloved Spirit descend, and had heard His Father’s voice—catching a glimpse of the glorious existence He’d left behind. From this exhilarating moment, Jesus would be sent to battle Satan face to face.
Mark was an action guy who loved dynamic words like immediately, without delay and at once. In verse 12, Mark writes, “At once, the Spirit sent him [Jesus] out…” How often do our heaviest seasons of testing come at once—right on the heels of our highest joys? At those times, we remember this demonstration of how Jesus handled temptation. When we’re in our own wilderness of testing, we know He’s been there too. Following Jesus’ lead, we rely on scripture to direct us and we lean on the Holy Spirit to strengthen us.
The Greek word for “sent Him out” is a strong word, meaning “thrust out or drive out.” Ironically, in its eighty-one New Testament uses, exballo nearly always refers to driving out demons—Satan’s forces; Mark uses it so nine times. But this first use shows the Holy Spirit driving out Jesus to take His stand against Satan. Before Jesus began ministry to men ravaged by sin, He would deal head-on with sin’s source.
Mark includes just two verses about Jesus’ temptation. Matthew and Luke give more detail. They record three specific temptations which are only samples of the grueling, relentless testing Jesus endured during these forty days and after. Satan needed just one slip, one small misstep, to destroy the plan of redemption—which depended on Jesus living a sinless life. We can be sure Satan went after Jesus with everything he had.
Yet Jesus stood the test. He never slipped, never faltered. We rarely make it through a day without sin. He lasted a lifetime! He went to the cross as the unblemished Lamb of God, bearing the sin of the world but no sin of His own. “God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (2 Cor. 5:21, The Message) He took your sin and mine, giving us His righteousness. Jesus demonstrated the amazing love of God. How much does God love us? In Jesus, we know: He loves us to death—and beyond!
What do you think? Share your ideas!
Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that Jesus is able to sympathize with us because He was tempted in every way like we are. He knows this life is hard. He knows the struggle to be pure. He knows the battle to control anger. He knows the temptations of fatigue. No one has ever been tempted at the intensity Jesus was; Satan had everything riding on His failure. Jesus faced it all and made it through without sin. How comforting is it to you that whatever you face, He knows?
© Diane McLoud 2013