21 February 2021

Mark 1:9-15

He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. (v. 13).

Psalm 25


Mark's Gospel was the first to be written, possibly in about 65 AD, approximately 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection. The word 'gospel' means 'good news'. Mark’s purpose was to write an account of the ministry of Jesus. It is the shortest and most concise of all the gospels. There is no certainty of the identity of Mark, but some believe him to have been the son of a wealthy and influential woman named Mary.

The passage that is our focus today comes after a description of John the Baptiser, who was the forerunner of Jesus, the messenger who would prepare the way. Verses 9-15 describe both the baptism and the temptation of Jesus. In verse 11 we notice that Jesus is affirmed by a voice from heaven and in verse 12 he is driven into the wilderness, which is a place away from the hustle and bustle of towns and cities. It is possible that in this context the wilderness could be the same as the desert. The significance of 40 days is that is symbolises a very long time, for example, Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai. Satan is God’s adversary, the one who is against God.

We read this passage on the First Sunday in Lent. Lent runs from Ash Wednesday on 17 February, up to Holy Saturday on 3 April and signifies the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. Lent might seem to last longer than 40 days, but  the Sundays within this period do not form part of the 40.

We are encouraged by the fact that Jesus, as a human being, faced the same kinds of temptations we face in our everyday lives. But we also know that angels, divine messengers, will minister to us as they did to Jesus.

To Ponder:

  • What are some of the temptations you face in your lives every day?
  • What experience do you have of angels ministering to you, or waiting on you?

Bible notes author

The Revd Lynita Conradie

Lynita Conradie was ordained in 2005 in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and worked part-time as a minister and also as a human rights lawyer and editor of the Namibian Law Reports, in Namibia. Lynita came to Britain in September 2013 and served as a presbyter in the Nottingham (North) Circuit until August 2018. She is currently in the Harrow and Hillingdon Circuit. In her spare time, Lynita follows cricket and rugby and likes reading and travelling.

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