“The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of Him.” Mark 1:12-13, NLT
3rd Sunday- “From Wilderness To Victory!
The Markan text is the earliest of three narratives in the Gospels that gives the account of Jesus going into and surviving the wilderness experience. These brief two verses in Mark, are all that is necessary for us to understand the “victory” that was assured in the life of Jesus, despite the obstacles He faced. It is noted that Jesus was aware of His mission, and a sure victory over the devil, sin, and death from an early age. It was at the Temple when He was twelve years old that the adolescent Jesus proclaimed His special relationship with the Heavenly Father (cf. Luke 2:49, NLT). Mark’s text is very explicit in describing the turmoil Jesus encountered when He was led into the wilderness. He would face Satan and wild animals: wolves, jackals, bears, etc. None of these challenges distracted nor deterred Jesus from His mission. The enemies Jesus confronted were not imaginary but real and visceral. For forty days Jesus encountered human deprivation, beasts, and the devil. The devil tried relentlessly to tempt Jesus, and to have Jesus concede victory to him. Three of these occasions are described. Jesus refused every temptation, and would not relinquish the victory God had prepared for Him. The devil’s attempt to usurp what was only intended for Jesus was a losing battle. As Jesus came out of the wilderness “real angels” ministered to Him, not imaginary ones. In the subsequent years, the devil would try, but fail miserably, to harm or defeat Jesus. The Greek New Testament defines the devil (diabolos) as the “one
who slanders, divides, and splinters.” The devil’s truncated version of the scriptures was met by Jesus with rebuke and authority. Victory awaits all who are faithful to God. No wilderness nor the devil could ever defeat us!