A Reflection on Mark 1:9-15

In this Gospel passage, Mark tells the story of Jesus’ Baptism and immediate departure into the desert wilderness where Jesus will reside and be tempted by Satan.

Jesus was led into the wilderness by the very Spirit of God, to a place where death was a very real possibility. He is in this dangerous environment for forty days.

He was not alone, however. Among no one but the temptations of satan and the animals.  Despite the trials of hunger, pain, and near death pangs – Jesus pulls deep into the promises and Words of God to survive and win this devilish test.

Finally, comes tangible provisions from God.  We are told that the angels came and tended to his needs.

Martin Luther in his reflection on Isaiah 40 writes:

 “In times of trial we should learn to judge, not by our feeling but by the Word of God. This Word promises us that every trial is only the eventide upon which the morning of comfort follows.”  

Holding fast to promises from God serves as our only defense in the face of temptation.  When we are tested, even beyond our own means to discern right from wrong, God miraculously provides.

Probably, the best provisions of God’s Word that have impacted my life and faith are more from the New Testament than the Old.  My Jewish friends are steeped in the Word of the Old Testament.  This is why its so important to engage the world together and why the beliefs of the Judeo-Christian heritage are intertwined and respected in the foundation of our democracy in the United States.

Testing of nations is one thing, but here today the testing of satan is clearly directed to us.  It gets personal.  When things get personal, we tend to let emotions drive our course of action.  Martin Luther asks us to develop defenses to overcome feelings and root them in God’s Word.

So that brought me to think of what I have in my armory as I battle temptations.  Here are a few:

Lo, I will be with you.                                                           Matthew 28:20

          I am sending you an advocate – the Holy Spirit of Truth.            John 15:26

The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 145:8

Knowing I am not alone – anytime or anywhere.                                      Companionship.

When I can’t speak up, the Spirit will speak out and stand alongside me. Courage.

Trust is the most important attribute in a relationship.                           Commitment.

Today, some of us or maybe all of us are wandering and residing in what we would describe as a wilderness.

What is in your Word of God armory? 

For me, I am invincible with God as a faithful companion, prodding me to speak truth into everyday temptations, and He is a committed, trustworthy friend who loves me unconditionally. 

AMEN.

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