November 23, 2004

Mark 1:12-13

Category: Bible - NT - Mark :: Permalink

Mark 1:12-13
(October 10, 2004, Sermon Notes)

All through the opening verses of Mark’s Gospel, our expectations have been growing. Jesus is Yahweh, Israel’s God, coming to rescue His people. He’s the new Joshua, the new Elisha, the new David. At His baptism, God anoints Him as king and acclaims Him as His son.

But in our text, instead of going immediately to Jerusalem to claim His throne, Jesus goes to the wilderness. That’s where the first battle has to be fought. And what happens there is a miniature pattern for the rest of Jesus’ ministry.


Immediately after His baptism, the Spirit drives Jesus into the wilderness. The word for “drives” is the same word used when Mark talks about Jesus “casting out” demons. The Spirit doesn’t just lead Jesus into the wilderness; He throws Him out of the land into the wilderness.

That’s what happened to Israel at the Exodus: Israel was cast out into the wilderness (Ex. 6:1; 11:1; 12:33, 39). In the wilderness, Israel was tested and Israel failed. Israel was an unfaithful son (see Hosea 11).

But now God has declared that Jesus is His Son. Jesus is the new Israel. The Spirit drives Him into the wilderness because He has a calling to carry out there. For forty days (representing Israel’s forty years in the wilderness), Jesus is in the wilderness being tempted by “the satan.”

“The satan” is a description, not a name. It means “the accuser.” The satan wanted to accuse Job and so he tempted him to curse God (Job 1-2). The satan wanted to accuse David and so he tempted him to number Israel and boast in his power (1 Chr. 21:1). And now the satan wants to accuse Jesus, too, and so he tempts him.

But Jesus doesn’t fall. The accuser’s charges don’t stick. Jesus wins the victory and because He did, the accuser’s charges against us don’t stick either. The accuser of the brothers has been cast down (Rev. 12:10).


Jesus is a new Israel. He’s also a new David. Samuel anoints David, but David doesn’t take the throne immediately. He’s cast out to be with the Gentiles (1 Sam. 26:19). He’s tempted to take the throne the wrong way. But he resists the temptation and God gives him dominion.

Mark hints that Jesus is like David. Only Mark says that Jesus was “with the wild beasts,” just as David was (1 Sam. 16:34-37). He won the victory over the beasts. And Jesus, too, rules over the wild beasts. They don’t hurt him. And what happens here hints at His future rule of the world.

As well, Mark says that “the angels ministered to Him.” Most likely, they fed Him (see 1:31), as angels fed Israel (Ps. 78:25). Jesus was faithful and God shows His approval. He will nourish us, too, until the full victory.

Posted by John Barach @ 5:10 pm | Discuss (0)

Leave a Reply