Mark 1:12-13 Was Jesus Really Tempted?

Posted on August 11, 2008. Filed under: The Gospel of Mark |

Monday, August 11, 2008– Here are the sermon notes from my Sunday evening sermon on the Temptation of Christ from Mark 1:12-13. Originally preached in 1999.

Mark 1:12-13   “Was Jesus Really Tempted?”   1Aug99pm




I Driven By The Spirit

II. Wilderness vs Eden

III. Two Temptations, Two Outcomes




Introduction: Here is a story that is brief, yet so absolutely crucial for our faith, the story of the Temptation of Christ. Though Mark’s account is condensed compared with that of Matt. and Luke he includes enough to get us to understand who Jesus is and what he was facing. This short episode is enough to continue the theme of Jesus as the Servant as it shows that Jesus submitted himself to the rigors of temptations.

            How are your temptations? Do you face just the old regular temptations that you have for years? Are you facing any new temptations? Of what comfort or benefit is it to know that Jesus was tempted like we are? What doctrinal content for the building up of our faith exists here? As we study this topic tonight we will also see some amazing tie ins with our study in Genesis and some other OT passages.


I. Driven By The Spirit

            One of the themes of Mark’s Gospel is that of ongoing conflict between Jesus and the forces of evil. Here it is the wilderness with Satan and the wild animals, later it will be the demons and disease, then the forces of nature and finally the Jewish leaders and the government of man leading to the battle with death itself. But for now we see the battle with temptation in the wilderness against Satan.

            First of all notice that Jesus is sent out to the desert. The word used is actually very much stronger than sent out; cast out, and driven out is more like it. Mark uses this same word ekballo in his accounts of Jesus casting out the demons, so it is a violent word. The idea here however is not that Jesus was driven out against his will, instead this word shows more the divine necessity, the imperative of going out to the desert for dueling with the devil. Keep in mind that with the anointing of the Spirit Jesus had just received, and the fact that as the Son of God he is one with the Father and Spirit, there is no disagreement between the godhead here. But keep in mind also that Jesus was 100% man as well and had to learn obedience in his human nature. Hence the divine necessity for going to the desert to be tempted.

            Notice that it is the same Spirit who anointed him at his baptism that here casts him out to the wilderness. When you are led by the Spirit sometimes He leads you to sweet revival, wonderful experiences, blessings untold, but at other times the same Spirit of God leads you, casts you out even, into the clutches of the evil one. Oh how we wish it wasn’t so. Oh how we wish that we never had to face temptation cruel. How we long for the sweet shores of the Jordan and fear the loneliness of the wilderness experience. But if the Spirit leads, where else can we go? To avoid the wilderness would be to shirk our duty, to be disobedient.

            To follow Christ is to be driven by the Spirit and wherever He leads we go. The way of the cross began at the revival shores of Jordan, but quickly led to the barren and dangerous wilderness. The cost of discipleship frequently involves the thorns and cactus of temptation in the desert. Paul in Gal. 1 tells that soon after his conversion he went to Arabia, presumably for a wilderness time of study, fasting and prayer. In seminary we frequently referred to school as being in the wilderness.

            The Spirit can and does lead us into great suffering, whether it be persecution, illness, loneliness or financial woes. Follow the spirit! To a degree we can see in these words “the Spirit drove him out” cast him out, recalls Gen 3:24″he drove the man out..” and 4:14 “Today you are driving me from the land”. The temptation narrative, along with the first verse of Mark “The beginning of the Gospel” are conscious links to Genesis.


II. Wilderness vs Eden

            In the temptation of Jesus however we see Jesus given the testing in the wilderness, the desert, not the Garden of Eden. Adam had a perfect environment in which to face temptation; he was not all alone. The animals at this point were not wild. Jesus faced the wilderness and the wild animals and Satan all alone.

            What did the wilderness represent for the Jews? There was a good side of the wilderness and a bad side. In our discussion of John the Baptist we saw the good side of the wilderness- it was the place of the birth of Israel at Sinai, the place of meeting God for worship and instruction. However there was another side- see Lev. 16:20-22. The wilderness represented the place of demons and the devil, evil. In the days of the Judges some of the enemies of Israel came riding in out of the desert. It was the land of the Edomites, Moabites, and Ishmaelites- those rejected by God.

            For us, which temptation place do we prefer? The wilderness or the Garden? The Garden is more comfortable but just as deadly! The wilderness is harsh but with the Spirit we can, like Jesus, achieve the victory.


III. Two Temptations, Two Outcomes

            Adam failed his testing. Adam made his choice and we all have suffered as a result of his failure and rebellion in the Garden. Jesus faced the devil one on one and the wild animals to boot, and he won.

1Peter 2:22

Heb 4:15



Psalm 119:9-11; Mk14:38; Gal6:2-3


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[…] on Tue 28-10-2008 David Head on The Jesus Way of Life Saved by bjoern1900 on Tue 28-10-2008 Mark 1:12-13 Was Jesus Really Tempted? Saved by cehagerman on Mon 27-10-2008 Jesus is Lord, Just Not a Gentile One Saved by Naruto81191 […]

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