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Good News in the Wilderness

Good New in the Wilderness

Here is an excerpt from "The Gospel Begins: An Exposition of Mark 1:1-15"

Many centuries after Adam and Eve were exiled into the wilderness, God established Israel as His special people. God planned to bring them into the Promised Land, which – if the people obeyed – would be turned into an Edenic garden-country characterized by life and peace and flourishing in every way. But before the people entered the Promised Land, they had to endure a season of testing – not forty days, but forty years. As they were about to enter the Promised Land, Moses told them: “And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3) Before they entered the land of promise and plenty, they had to learn to trust God in the wilderness. Israel, of course, never really passed the test. But now, many more centuries later, Jesus had to face the same kind of test. Adam failed miserably in the garden. Israel was always stubborn and rebellious (Deuteronomy 9:6-7), and ultimately the Promised Land remained a wilderness because the Israelites never got their act together. Would Jesus be a better man than Adam? Would Jesus be a better son than Israel? Would Jesus humbly depend on His Father and draw nourishment from His Father’s every word? Would Jesus withstand Satan and overcome Satan’s crafty temptations? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Mark doesn’t describe the wilderness temptations with the same amount of detail as Matthew and Luke do. Nevertheless, Jesus’ experience of temptation is an important part of the good news, and Mark wants us to understand that Jesus endured the temptation and passed the test. Finally, here is a Man who enters into the wilderness and endures and proves true. Here is a Man who faces off against the devil and wins. Here is a Man who can lead us out of the wilderness and into the Promised Land of eternal salvation. Follow Him!