Summary: Jesus was tested like no man has ever been tested. Led by the Spirit into the wilderness, He triumphed over Satan and every temptation thrown His way.

Mark 1:12-13

The Testing of Jesus

Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

Introduction – Ornithology

A college student wanted to take an easy class to finish up his degree during his spring semester. He was told by his friends to take a course in ornithology by an old professor near retirement who made the class an easy A. However, during the holidays the professor died. The school hired a replacement professor (a Ph.D. candidate) who had a reputation for being extremely difficult. This student finds the class extremely difficult and spent an extraordinary amount of time in study to make a good grade. In fact, he really studies his brains out for the final. He comes the classroom feeling prepared, but instead of having normal test, there are 25 pictures on the wall of bird’s feet. When he finds out that he is supposed to identify the birds by their feet---- he goes nuts, and says to the prof, “This is crazy. Nobody could take this test. The professor says, “Nevertheless, you have to take it.” The kid says, “I am not going to take it.” The professor replied, “You will take it, or you’ll fail.” The student says, “Go ahead and fail me. I am not going to take this test.” The prof says, “All right. That’s it. You‘ve failed. Tell me your name.” The bright young man rolls up his pants to his knees and says to the professor, “I don’t know, you tell me.”

What Jesus went through for His test in the wilderness was far greater than any test you or I have ever taken! In two brief verses in Mark, we see a great spiritual test undertaken that is not seen again until Gethsemane and Calvary! Jesus passes the test! That’s the good news! Let’s examine what kind of place this was for a test. This test was a place for trauma, temptation and triumph!

It Was a Place of TRAUMA (12)

Why would we call it a place of trauma? It was a Place of Danger. Jesus leaves the Jordan River and appears here in the wilderness. The Greek word for drive is ekballô. It means to drive out with force or to be thrown and driven out. This was done by the Spirit. He was thrown into a dangerous arena with jackals, boars, hyenas, wolves, scorpions and snakes. It was a lonely and desolate place where He had to brave the fallen elements of cold nights, a scorching sun and the blistering sirocco winds. It was no place for the faint at heart. It was also a Place of Desolation. He was isolated until Satan arrives. He had no company or encouragement. This was no Garden of Eden. But He had the word of His Father! Even when things looked bleak for 40 days, He trusted His Father! Not only was it a place of danger and desolation, it was also a Place of Downfall. This was a place where a great test was about to begin.

Yet in all that it was nothing compared to what Jesus would go through three plus years later! He would contend against vipers that would put Him to death. He would heal the lame, make the blind to see and cause the deaf to hear. Yet He would not make one single Pharisee on Sadducee trust Him against his will.

Illustration - Lessons on Confession and Community

By Patrick Payton - Oct 24, 2007

I was fresh out of seminary and pastoring a church plant that within its first few months had outgrown our rented facility and was beginning to plan for two services.

At Stonegate Fellowship we were telling people the truth that Jesus Christ changes lives, and it seemed the message was getting across. We were telling people that Stonegate was a place they could bring the baggage of their past, and we would love them and walk with them into the journey of new life offered through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

We were telling people that all of us had a story, no matter how good or bad, but all that really mattered was personally knowing and loving Jesus and loving one another. For the most part, outside of the many struggles that come with starting a new church, we were excited and expectant about what God was doing in our city and church.

Then, as if God had planned for our church to take it up another notch, Mike and Stephanie Goeke visited my office, and a new day began not only for Stonegate Fellowship, but for me, the pastor.

Many people in our church and city (Midland, Texas) knew some of Mike and Stephanie Goeke’s story. Most knew of their separation a few years prior, the impending divorce, and the miraculous restoration. But what many did not know was the story this upper-middle class, white collar, “straight out of the preppy handbook” couple had never shared with anyone—especially anyone inside the church. But one afternoon meeting in the pastor’s office was about to change all of that.

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