THE GOSPEL OF MARK – IN THE WILDERNESS

IN THE WILDERNESS

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Mark 1:9-13

God’s pleasure in His son is expressed in an unusual way. The human tendency would be to cushion our sons by making their lives easier, plying them with gifts or just “spoiling” them in one way or another, but of what benefit would that be to them in the long term? God’s way of benefiting Jesus was to isolate Him in rough and hostile surroundings in order to put Him through the most stringent of tests – cut off from every comfort including a supply of food and water. He had to rely completely on His Father to sustain Him and keep Him alive.

We can be sure that the Father closely monitored every moment in that dangerous place – dangerous in both the natural and spiritual environments: extreme heat and cold, wild creatures and even the terrain itself were all pitted against Him. What kind of father would do that to his son?

God knew what lay ahead for Jesus. To be unprepared would have been suicide. It was the very love of God for His son that manoeuvred Him into that setting because the next three-and-a-half years would be fraught with dangers that would affect His eternal destiny and ours. There was no time for a little “spoiling” to express His love for Jesus. Far greater would be God’s approval and appreciation for His trust and obedience in the toughest of circumstances.

And what about you and me? Wherein lies the greatest of God’s favour and blessing? Yes, He does shower His benefits on us because of Jesus. We are the apple of His eye and the object of His extravagant love and furious grace, but sometimes His greatest benefits come to us in disguise. Why? Because God’s eye is focussed on the finish line and the prize, and it’s the journey to the finish line that matters..

Jesus was striving for a huge prize – the restoration of all things – and He could not rest and take His ease along the way. The “big test” was part of His journey and it is part of ours. That is the greatest evidence of God’s love.

 

Luella Campbell


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