Commentary on Mark :: Jesus is Tempted by Satan

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

May 24, 2008

The text (Mark 1:12-13):

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. 


The commentary:
judea_wildernessThis is by far the shortest account of Jesus’ time in the wilderness after His baptism. However, it actually says a great deal about this event in His life.

The first thing that I notice about this passage is how the Spirit “drove” Him out into the wilderness. The Greek more directly translates as impels, but either way it was the Spirit of God that caused Him to go into the wilderness. According to other sources, Jesus would have been around 30 years old when this happened. Therefore, He would have already been living a fairly established life. He would have been living in “the world” and certainly would have experienced much that life brings our way. But before He could fulfill His destiny, He had to be driven into the wilderness. I think that often we look for the easy road to be the path that God directs us, but often He may drive all of us into the wilderness before we can fulfill what He has called us to.

The other Gospels certainly speak more to the types of temptations that Jesus was subjected to, but for this audience it was apparently only important to mention that He was tested without needing to get into the details of how He was tested. Regardless of the level of detail, this mention of the temptations certainly speaks to the idea that He went through a qualifying experience in some way. By going through this temptation, He has shown Himself worthy.

This passage also points out that He had to live among the wild animals. To the original audience, this certainly would have shown that he could not only endure the temptation, but also the harshness of the untamed world around Him. What an amazing example to us as Christians! These days, we tend to separate ourselves from the “untamed world” around us in order to protect ourselves from the harm that it could cause us. But we need not be afraid, because…

Finally, this passage points out that the angels ministered to Him. God had placed the protection that He needed around Him. While I am not saying that this is a theological proof that we as Christians have “guardian angels,” I am saying that when we are in the wilderness we have the protection that we need, just like Jesus did. This protection may come from actual angels, but it may also come from other sources, such as other believers. Jesus would have had a confidence in this, and we can too. However, within the context of this narrative by Mark, this is yet another proof that this man was different…  even the supernatural served Him.


Commentary on Mark :: Jesus is Tempted by Satan

by Dan King time to read: 2 min