(The Temptation of Jesus)
The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
(Jesus Begins His Ministry)
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Comment: If you want to read more about this here, briefly described event, you will find fuller accounts in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospels – chapter 4 in each. But I maintain my custom of writing about what is written in the passage before us.
The temptation – The Spirit ‘drove’ Jesus into the wilderness. This either hints that Jesus was a bit resistant (which I doubt) or that it was to be a very significant time, or that the sinless One was, as he began His Ministry, about to be well and truly tested! And (maybe to help Him know how hard temptation is for us sometimes) He had to deal with Satan very close up, in a wild place physically and surrounded by wild beasts. These animals were not the rabbits and wallabies of Australia, but lions and bears and wolves! What does the angels ministering to Him mean? Quite frankly I don’t know. Did they feed Him? – but we are told elsewhere that he fasted; Did they whisper words of encouragement in His right ear, while the devil spoke in His left ear? Quite frankly ‘knowing’ the answer will be I guess a guess! But I don’t doubt the angels found a means to encourage Him.
His Ministry – We don’t know how long after Jesus came out of the wilderness John was arrested. We don’t know how long he was imprisoned before he was beheaded. This passage tells us that his arrest and Jesus ministry in Galilee were related. His message had four main points mentioned here….
- The time is fulfilled. The forerunner had come and the promised Messiah was on the spot!
- The kingdom of God was at hand because the King was there to fight the illegitimate ruler of mankind (Satan). That fight took Him to the cross and a great victory there!
- Repent – John’s message continued and is an essential part of getting right with God.
- Believe in the gospel; believe here is more than academic knowledge but heart commitment. The gospel here is the full dealings of God to bring salvation as an option for all who will believe.
Prayer: Help me to meditate deeply on all that is said in these couple of verses, please.