The Desert Experience

Mark 1:9-15: After Jesus’ baptism we find him being sent “straight away” by God’s Spirit (His Spirit) into the desert where he spent 40 days confronting Satan’s tests. What follows this is his launch into active ministry proclaiming the approaching kingdom of God. What stands out here is the fact that prior to launching into ministry Jesus was required to spend these 40 days in the crucible of the desert where he was put to the test. He had just been baptized by his cousin John and now he was thrown into a spiritual battle that must have seriously put him to the test. We like to think that with a high point like baptism comes a time of rejoicing, a sort of spiritual high where everything goes well. To the contrary though, Jesus finds himself without shelter, food or water for 40 days tempted and tried by His age old adversary. The one who had wanted to be like Him now thought he had his chance to strike God at the heal and destroy his plan. Jesus’ role and ministry are challenged so that it would be solidly founded on truth and faith upon return from the desert.
Likewise I believe that when we are called to minister, while not abandoning us, God will allow us to be tested and tried so that our ministry will be founded on the solid bedrock of truth and faith. The truth of God’s Word and faith in God alone are what brought Jesus through the 40 days of testing by Satan. This is what all those who serve God need, an unwavering faith in the truth of God’s Word (the written and Living Word) and in God alone. With these as our foundation we can weather the storms of the Sea of Galilee and the faithless opposition of the religious elite. The desert experience that followed the euphoria of the day of baptism is where it is all set in place.

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