Jesus’ presentation as God's Son and the beginning of His ministry were as much a reason to rejoice in first century Judea as it is today. Normally when we celebrate something we throw a party or hold a parade. We have celebrations for birthdays, anniversaries, parades to honor holidays, winning sports teams and other special events. Jesus however, was not to be so honored.
At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him (NIV)
The Greek word translated here as “at once”, eutheos (yoo-theh'-oce), has also been translated as “immediately”, “quickly”, “straightaway” and “just then”. It appears 47 times in Mark's Gospel.
1) How do these other interpretations of the Greek word eutheos tie these verses to verses 9-11?
○ They place the temptation shortly following the baptism.
The Spirit, who descended like a dove in verse ten, now has a mission for Jesus.
2) What does Mark say the Spirit did next?
○ The Spirit drove or sent Him into the wilderness.
The wilderness was a large area of barren lands around Judah, very much a desert wind swept, rocky and intensely hot. The desert held a special significance to the people of Israel, beginning with their journey from Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:22) .
They experienced difficulties ranging from a lack of water (Exodus 15:23-25) to attacks by enemy nations, (Exodus 17:8-16) before reaching Mount Sinai.
At Sinai they received the Law (Exodus 20:2-17) .
They were punished for not trusting God (Numbers 11:32-33).
Moses and Aaron were punished for disobedience by not being allowed to cross into the Promised Land. (Numbers 20:8-12) .
Until, at last, they took possession of the Promised Land (Joshua 21:43).
God had kept His promise to the people of Israel.
I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Exodus 6:4 (NIV)
3) In light of the brief history above, how might the people of Israel view the desert?
○ As a place of testing and deliverance and Grace
Mark tells us that Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit. The Greek word translated in the NIV as “sent him”, has also been translated as “drove” in the English Standard Version and “impelled” in the New American Standard.
The Greek word ekballo (ek-bal'-lo ) means
a. to command or cause one to depart in haste ;
b. to lead one forth or away somewhere with a force which he cannot resist
Mark is a little sparse in his presentation, Luke and Matthew fill in a few further details for us.
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1-2a (ESV)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 (ESV)
4) What are a few things you read in Matthew and Luke, that Mark leaves out?
○ Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit .
○ Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit.
5) Why does Mark highlight the Holy Spirit's involvement in Jesus ministry?
○ The Spirits involvement proves Jesus came with the authority of the Father.
6) What lessons can we learn from the Spirits involvement in Jesus ministry?
○ The Holy Spirit's involvement in our lives and ministries is required to follow His will.
7) How can we apply what we have learned from the Spirits involvement in Jesus ministry to our lives?
○ Pray and practice spiritual discipline.
Jesus spent forty days and nights in the wilderness living with wild animals. Matthew 4:2 and Luke 4:2 tell us that Jesus abstained from nourishment for forty days and forty nights. In other words, Jesus fasted for forty days and nights, living in a dangerous environment full of wild beasts, some of which no longer exist in the region today, such as the lion.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Matt 4:2 (NIV)
where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. Luke 4:2 (NIV)
Jesus’ ordeal in the wilderness recalls two other events from the Old Testament such as Moses’ ascent up Mount Sinai, not once but twice Exodus 24:18, 34:28. Elijah's miraculous meal when fleeing Jezebel 1 Kings 19. A meal that sustained him forty days and nights in his journey to mount Horeb, also called Sinai.
Even the forty years Israel spent being tested and refined in the desert. Deut 8:2-3.
Adam Clarke wrote about the significance of 40 days as follows:
It is remarkable that Moses, the great lawgiver of the Jews, previously to his receiving the law from God, fasted forty days in the mount; that Elijah, the chief of the prophets, fasted also forty days; and that Christ, the giver of the New Covenant, should act in the same way. Was not all this intended to show, that God’s kingdom on earth was to be spiritual and Divine? - that it should not consist in meat and drink, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost?. Roman 14:17 (NIV).
Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted. The word translated as tempted is the Greek word peirazo (pi-rad'-zo) which has the following meaning.
to try, make trial of, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity, or what he thinks, or how he will behave himself
a.in a bad sense, to test one maliciously, craftily to put to the proof his feelings or judgments
b. to try or test one's faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin
c. to solicit to sin, of the temptations of the devil
Mark tells us only that Satan tempted Jesus for forty days . Matthew and Luke add a bit more detail. This study shall use Matthews version to illustrate the Temptation of Christ.
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread. " Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. '"
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God, " he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
" ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. '" Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test. '"
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you, " he said, “if you will bow down and worship me. " Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. '" Matthew 4:3-10 (NIV)
8) What does Matthew tell us Satan used to try tempting Jesus?
○ Satan used the word of God in his attempt to corrupt Jesus.
9) How did Jesus respond to Satan's tempting?
○ Jesus responded with a proper use of Scripture.
10) What can you learn from Jesus’ use of Scripture?
○ The proper application of God's Word is powerful.
11) From Satan’s use of Scripture?
○ The improper use of Scripture can be powerful and damaging.
12) How can we put these observations to use in our lives when we are tempted?
Clyde Annach is the operator of the Web Log Clyde's been thinking again!