6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: Jesus was led by the Spirit, and so we should seek to be Spirit-led.

A Potent Start

(Mark 1:12-15)

1. Some people are never happy. A Jewish lady's grandson is playing in the water, she is standing on the beach not wanting to get her feet wet, when all of a sudden, a huge wave appears from nowhere and crashes directly over the spot where the boy is wading.

The water recedes and the boy is no longer there. He simply vanished. She holds her hands to the sky, screams and cries, "Lord, how could you? Have I not been a wonderful mother and grandmother? Have I not given to Bnai Brith and Haddasah? Have I not tried my very best to live a life that you would be proud of?" A few minutes later another huge wave appears out of nowhere and crashes on the beach. As the water recedes, the boy is standing there, smiling, splashing around as if nothing had ever happened. A loud voice booms from the sky, "Okay, okay, I have returned your grandson. Are you satisfied?"

She responds, "He had a hat." [http://www.haruth.com]

2. Unlike this woman, the Father expressed that he was well-pleased with is Son. No regrets, no footnotes, no limited warranty.

3. Indeed, Jesus would continue his ministry with the permission of the Father and in the strength and leading of the Holy Spirit.

4. The Holy Spirit is a “he,” not an “it.” He is deity, God, the third Person. He is not merely a force but he has intellect, emotion, and will. And he indwells every genuine believer. He leads us, mostly through his Word.

Main Idea: Jesus was led by the Spirit, and so we should seek to be Spirit-led.

I. The Spirit FLUNG Jesus into the Wilderness to be Tempted (12-13)

Mark choose to omit many details, but to include others. So many lessons left out; fasting, the three temptation, the use of Scripture to fight temptation. Yet if we focus on what Mark omits, we will fail to give proper weight to what he includes. And what he includes, he includes for a purpose. So let’s focus in on where Mark is taking us rather than upon the full account of what happened.

• Mark emphasizes the intensity of the battle

A. Wilderness: both a place to PREPARE and a place of DANGER

B. The Spirit literally THREW Out Jesus into the desert

1. The same Holy Spirit who came upon Jesus at his baptism now drives him into the wilderness.

2. Has God ever led you where you might not plan to go? How we came to HPC….

3. Has God ever flung you?

C. To be tested, tried, and TEMPTED

• When can be in a place of temptation and yet doing God’s will. It is not a sin to be tempted, but it is a sin to yield to temptation. Normally the best approach is to stay away from known temptations.

• My friend Al Haymaker…

We pray in the Lord’s Prayer for the Lord to not lead us into temptation, which means he might… what we are really asking is for him to keep us away from unnecessary temptations (minimize them)

We also pray to be delivered from the evil one (where he does allow tempted)

D. FORTY days

Elijah in I Kings 19:4-8, “But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.


1. One of Jesus’ goals was to “destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8), so he had to engage in battle. He proves himself faithful and a mighty warrior.

2. Just as Jacob wrestled God in the wilderness, God incarnate wrestles Satan.

3. As the second Adam, he chooses not to give in to the tempter’s offer

4. Adam chose to sin, though in the ideal environment of Eden

5. Jesus chose not to sin, though in an oppressive environment

F. Wild beasts: A place of TERROR

• Why does Mark add this detail that the other Gospel writers omit? Intensity.

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