The Temptation of Christ

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And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him. - Mark 1:12-13

So begins and ends Mark's account of the wilderness temptations. Mark's concise summary helps establish the setting for the temptation of Jesus.

Background

The wilderness temptation is the first recorded event that follows the baptism of Jesus. It's important to review Christ's baptism to better understand the nature of Satan's attacks.

Baptism of Jesus

When Jesus was baptized God declared, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11). Satan challenged this declaration in the first two temptations.

The wilderness

Following the baptism, Mark indicated that the Spirit "immediately" led Jesus into the wilderness.

The word "wilderness" refers to deserted areas in the unpopulated wilds of Palestine. It is often translated as "desert." Mark indicates Jesus was "with the wild beasts," presumably isolated from the distractions of humanity (Mark 1:13).

Jesus fasts 40 days

According to Luke, Jesus "ate nothing" for 40 days prior to the temptation (Luke 4:2). Moses and Elijah endured similar fasts before receiving divine revelations from God (Exodus 34:28, 1st Kings 19:8).

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