And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Mark 1: 12-13
Mark spends two verses on the temptation story, blink and you almost miss it, yet what those words communicate is staggering in scope. Wilderness, forty days; this is the language of Israel being tested in the wilderness. Tempted by Satan, with wild beasts, ministering angels; this is the language that evokes memories of Eden and speaks of future glory.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The prophets spoke about the messianic age as a time when the harmony between wild animals and humans, as it was in Eden, would be restored. The fact that Jesus was portrayed as being with wild beasts and ministering angels suggests the outcome of Satan’s temptation; whereas Adam gave into temptation, Jesus resisted. Mark’s temptation story pictures Jesus as the new Adam in a restored paradise. Jesus did what Adam failed to do, therefore, Jesus is the second Adam who shows us what it means to be fully human.
It was as one fully human, who went to pray in another garden. The temptation before him, to find an alternative way to overcome the power of sin. The anguish surrounding this decision caused Jesus to cry tears of blood.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”
Temptation always comes down to this choice: our will or God’s. It was the choice before Adam and Eve, it was the choice before Jesus in the wilderness and in the Garden of Gethsemene, it continues to be our choice today. To follow Adam leads to death and a world ruined by sin because we continue to live according to our will not God’s. To follow Jesus leads to life in all its fullness and a world that comes alive due to the effect of our obedience to the will of God. The disciple of Jesus is the one who chooses life increasingly. Let it be so with you.
PrayerJesus, second Adam.
As you did, so let us choose the Father’s will in all things.
In order that the earth may be renewed and God’s glory be seen everywhere.