Wilderness: Mark 1:12

It is often said that, after believers baptism, there can be a sense of anti climax, challenge and even temptation for the new believer.

‘So in all the children of God, extraordinary manifestations of his favour are wont to be followed by extraordinary temptations.’ (i)

Here is Jesus walking a similar path. From the drama and wonder of His own baptism, Christ is thrust into a place of challenge, darkness and temptation. For Jesus, the period of temptation is extended (40 days is not to be taken literally (ii)), and he faces extreme attacks attributed to the great adversary, Satan.


The text demands that Christ is thrust into the wilderness immediately after baptism. The text demands that he is thrust there by the Holy Spirit. The time of testing after the thrill of baptism is a time ordained by God. There is something really important here in terms of our own times of temptation.

In this life it is impossible to escape the assault of temptation; but one thing is sure – temptations are not sent to make us fall; they are sent to strengthen the nerve and the sinew of our minds and hearts and souls. They are not meant for our ruin, but for our good. They are meant to be tests from which we emerge better warriors and athletes for God. (iii)

Temptation is tough. The challenge is at its greatest when we are in our place of wilderness. Yet even then, under the protection of a faithful God it is to be resisted, endured, and ultimately defeated.

‘The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.’ 1 Corinthians 10:13.

  • John Wesley, Commentary on Gospel of Mark, Mk 1 v12
  • Barclay, Mark, Mark 1:12-13
  • Barclay, ibid

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