Mark 1:12-13: Holy Spirit and the Subject of Temptation
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, where he was empowered by the Spirit of God and affirmed by the Father – Jesus was sent out to the wilderness for forty days to pray and fast.
In Mark’s short version of the temptation of Jesus (comparing it to Matthew 4:1-11), we see that Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. Mark then ends the story of the temptation by describing that Jesus was with the wild animals and the angels were ministering to Him.
Some key things we see in this two verses.
- The Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness.
The Holy Spirit brings us to places where we need to trust and depend on him. Though Jesus was there to pray and fast, the Holy Spirit knew that Jesus was going to face temptation and danger in
2. The wilderness is a place of testing.
The wilderness is a place of battleground in the Bible. Before launching Jesus to his ministry, he was first tested. This has been a pattern in Scripture, where people of God were first tested before doing His work. Even in the New Testament, there is a place or time of testing, before we are given more responsibility to do kingdom work.
Another note is how Satan is seen as a real enemy and not just a figment of our imagination. In our post-modern world today, people have the tendency to make Satan impersonal – a force, a symbol or the evil in us while denying the existence of Satan.
3. The context of wild animals
Wild animals were used during Mark’s time as a weapon against Christians. Christians were being fed to wild animals as a form of persecution. The wild animal was a symbol of grit and commitment to the faith of the believers. Being a follower of Jesus is an invitation to die with Jesus. No wonder the commitment of the followers led to a revolutionary, life-transforming faith that still impacts us till today.
4. The ministering angels who were with Jesus.
In the midst of God’s call for us to live a dangerous life, He has promised safety. It sounds like a paradox but as disciples of Jesus, we have to know what we are getting into and at the same time appreciate the assurance of the presence and protection of God in our lives.
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