Summary: A consideration of the Temptation of Christ showing Him as the never failing Last Adam who conquered Satan, and secured victory for all who believe. The 3rd in a series on Mark's Gospel
The Temptation of Jesus
Aim: To show the necessity of the baptism of the Spirit, and how it is greater than water baptism administered by John.
Text: Mark 1:12-13
Introduction: Writing to the Corinthians Paul said, “There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” Few experiences in the Christian life have such universal familiarity as the experience of temptation, and yet we read here that the Lord Jesus too, knew temptation. The Bible says He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.
So far Mark’s gospel has introduced us to the ministry of John and the baptism of the Lord Jesus. All of that was preparatory to His coming, to the beginning of His ministry. Now there is one more preparation – He must be tested. He must be tried. He must be proven to be the Son of God.
Illus: At the Consumer Electronics Show recently held in Las Vegas, one company unveiled the unbreakable mobile phone. When asked what the phone was capable of withstanding, the director said you could drop it from a ten storey height, immerse it in over 20 ft of water for up to 30 minutes, and even hammer a nail with it and it would not break. In fact, so confident was he, that if you could find a way to break it, the company would give you a free phone. So Dan Simmons from the BBC's technology show “Click” thought he would give it a go. First of all he dunked it into an aquarium. Sure enough, though the phone was immersed in water it vibrated in response to a call and when he brought it up it continued to operate. He then hammered it, four times on the corner of the aquarium, and guess what? He broke the screen. It really was very unimpressive.
Isn’t that how men are in relation to temptation. We give in so easily, fall so readily, prove ourselves so weak, and yet here comes God’s Man, Jesus Christ and He wants you and I to know that He is who He claims to be, the perfect Son of God, and so He is driven out into the wilderness to be tempted that we might see He was/is unbreakable. The theological term is “impeccable.” Jesus could not sin. And yet His temptation was as real as any you or I have ever experienced.
I. The Occasion of It
A. Mark says, “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.”
1. “Immediately” is, of course, one of Mark’s key words – this gospel writer takes us straight to the action.
2. In fact he covers in 2 verses what Matthew covered, albeit in greater detail, in 11.
3. Now Mark wants us to think about when this period of temptation occurred – it happened immediately AFTER His baptism.
4. It came immediately AFTER the Lord had committed Himself to exemplifying righteousness, identified with those He came to save and committed Himself to His Father’s plan.
5. This is a detail that each of the gospel writers conveys, and its point is important, because it is often after the blessings that we enter into the battles, and no spiritual privilege may shelter us from ferocity of temptation or trial.
B. This is a mistake that many new converts make.
1. They think because they have won some victory, or enjoyed some mountain top experience that they are home and dry… but the opposite is often the case.
2. We see this over and over again in Scripture, and yet what?
3. Some poor fellows makes his stand for right, and he thinks the battle’s won when suddenly he finds himself under the cosh, he finds himself facing temptation, his very testimony as a believer is put on the line.
4. Or some new convert eager to follow the Master surrenders to the ordinance of baptism, even as Jesus did, and enjoys a moment of victorious testimony, reveling in the warmth of the church’s approval and fellowship, but then within days or weeks or months we find that same one struggling, and we wonder if they are a Christian at all.
5. But they have let their guard down and in so doing opened themselves up to spiritual attack.
6. The experience of Jesus teaches that. He leaves the baptismal waters behind with the approval of His Father still ringing in His ears and what?
a. The Spirit driveth him into the wilderness to be tempted.
b. Having committed Himself to do that which is right, He is tested and tried.
c. Isn’t that often the way?
II. The Location of It.
A. Again, “The Spirit driveth him into the wilderness.”
1. We have already mentioned in this series why it was that Jesus’ introduction to ministry began in the wilderness.