Where the Wild Things Are
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 1:13
The evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke all include the temptation of Jesus in their Gospel accounts, but in his typical fashion, St. Mark includes far less detail than the other two. There is no specification of what kinds of temptations that Jesus faced. He doesn’t even state that Jesus overcame the temptation. All we really get from Mark is that Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days out in the desert wilderness. He was among the wild animals and angels ministered to him. Why does Mark note the wild animals? These same animals that were named by Adam in the Garden now prowl around in the wilderness, seeking to devour. It’s interesting that Peter likens the temptations of Satan with the dangerous threat of a lion, trying to devour us at any given opportunity.
As important as the creatures is where the wild things are, namely, the desert wilderness. The wilderness is always a place of weakness, danger, and threat. The desert region is a place where the physical needs are not easily met as people struggle for the basic necessities of life. They are not only in need, but also in danger as the predators stand ready to pounce upon them in their weakness.
As our Lord spends his time of desert wandering, being tempted like us in every way, He most assuredly does triumph over Satan by resisting the temptation. His time of temptation in the wilderness is instructive for us, where there is no food or drink to be found and wild animals are on the prowl. He trusts His Father for the things that He needs and the Father sends angels to minister to Him during his obviously weakened physical state. Our Lord depends upon the Father in the wilderness, in the garden, and even on the cross.
We find ourselves in the desert wilderness, facing the temptation of the devil, prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us. Job loss, cancer, financial debt, loneliness, depression, unrealized expectations, cantankerous boss, cantankerous spouse, cantankerous children, cars sliding off the road in the snow, roofs leaking from the rain, crops withering and dying from the lack of rain – these are times of trial and temptation that we face. We have a Savior who Himself faced temptation just as we do, but without sin. He has promised us grace and strength during our time of need. For just as the Father sent angels to strengthen His perfect Son, He gives to His baptized children the strength that we need to face the desert wilderness with all of its temptations. May our Lord strengthen you as you face the temptations of the old evil foe so that you may stand firm in Christ and His Word!
Prayer – Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son, You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by Your Holy Spirit that in our daily need, and especially in all time of temptation, we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan