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. (Mark 1:12-13 ESV)Let's Just keep in mind what we've seen so far.
- What we've been reading is the beginning of the good news about Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God.
- The story begins with a wilderness prophet calling people to repentance, precisely because a mighty one is coming.
- this is a fulfillment of ancient prophecy, and
- the mighty one will bring a "baptism" of the Holy Spirit rather than just simply water.
- Jesus shows up to be baptized like everyone else, and the Holy Spirit just mentioned by John descends on him, marking him, in other words, as the mighty one of whom John had been speaking.
- And now the Spirit drives into the wilderness for forty day, to be tempted by Satan but ministered to by angels.
That's a lot of story-telling in 8 verses, is it not? If we ask ourselves at this point what we have learned so far of the gospel, we would say that:
- the gospel has to do with Jesus, who is not only a "mighty one," but the son of God!
- the gospel has to do with fulfillment of ancient Judaic prophesies.
- the gospel has to do with the Holy Spirit.
- repentance prepares the way.
All well and good, but perhaps it is a bit shocking that the Holy Spirit would, first off, drive the mighty one into the desert. All I'd like to say about this matter is that the good news is first and foremost the good news about Jesus, according to Mark. Jesus is the good news, we might say. Who Jesus is and what he does is good news for me, and us, everywhere, throughout time. So why is it good news for me personally that Jesus was driven by the Spirit into the desert, a place of danger and death, for forty days?
I'm going to end with that question and give myself the task of meditating on it for a few days.