12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted[g] by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. –Mark 1:12-13
I’m working through the Book of Mark right now, and yesterday this verse stood out to me. After establishing both a link to the Old Testament and to the creation narrative, Mark again gives us a picture that has been recurring since the beginning of man. It actually begins a few verses before, when Jesus is baptized, and God proclaims, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased.”
And then what happens?
Well what always happens. It happened in the Garden of Eden. Man and woman was created, God said it was “very good.” And then Satan shows up, temptation ensues, and mankind falls. It happens all throughout the Old Testament, when the people of Israel would make a God-honoring covenant with their Heavenly Father, only to walk right out of that provision and into the wilderness of sin, doubt, and idolatry. It happens to us. We make resolutions, feel God’s presence keenly upon us, make our vows . . . and then we stumble into the muck and mire.
But with Christ it was different. Oh, the narrative was the same: lifted up, known by the all-powerful God, and then adversity arose. Satan prowled, tempted, coerced. He was cunning, cagey, and compelling, as always he is. Yet where all mankind has stumbled in some way or another, Christ stood firm, spotlessly standing in God’s good favor.
And it is because of that difference that we, fallen as we are, receive our own “This is my son, this is my daughter, of whom I am well pleased.”
We cannot help but be fallen, it is the state our rebellion has landed us in, no matter how hard we fight and how religiously we keep homemade rules. But when we discard our own work, and trust in Jesus’, we are liberated from bondage, and free to live and love and be accepted by our Creator.