The Spirit

The Spirit: Mark 1:12-13
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday December 1, 2019

Today, we’ll see our new friend in the book of Mark, immediacy and mission. The two are tied together – which should encourage us greatly. That Jesus mission is given by God, needs to happen right away, and that the spirit both calls for it and enables it.

In these two verses are some amazing encouragement, are some great truths, and we’ll move slowly and explore them. As we do, keep these questions in the back of your mind, and we’ll circle back to them:

Have you ever believed in something, then seen it in action, seen its power, and then really and truly understood it?

That’s the power of God’s spirit.

Mark 1:12–13 (ESV)
The Temptation of Jesus
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

Immediately after the baptism, is the answer to the question your mind may ask as you read this…. The Spirit Immediately drove Him out into the wilderness. Remember back to last week as we studied verses 9-11, Mark 1:5 told us all of the area was watching John baptize, then we learn of Jesus’ unique baptism, where the heavens are opened, God says this is my son in whom I am pleased and then the spirit of God, descended like a dove, into Jesus.

Mark 1:5 (ESV)
5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

What was the result of the spirit in Jesus, immediacy and mission.

Here is something about Mark’s Gospel that is incredible, the temptation comes almost immediately after the blessing of Jesus’ baptism. Does that take from the blessing, that Jesus was tempted after?

I recently watched a news story about a young man who had cancer, his immune system was wiped out and he couldn’t leave the house, people came by and were performing for him so he’d have something to do and stay encouraged while unable to leave his home. Which is cool – then the news person said, “and he recovered from cancer, which is the best blessing you can have”. Now I don’t want to be “that guy” or “Jesus juke people”, but recovery from a nasty disease like Cancer is great – but the best blessing possible? Everyone WILL die, so even if you’re cured, you’ll be guaranteed to die after. So, is being cured to a life that leads only to death is that the best blessing? I think not.

That is why Jesus would say,

John 4:34 (ESV)
34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

My food – where I get my life, my nourishment, my energy to continue, is by knowing God’s will is done. By accomplishing His work – what is his work, we’ll see it in a minute in Genesis 3:15, this is the very mission of God for Jesus that Mark is showing swift movement into -…God’s unfinished work.

This is also why God would say of Jesus: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”. Jesus did the will of God, His life was somewhat normal, until it was time to actively do the will of God through the ministry he was called too, and then it all changed, but Jesus, even the son of God needed the spirit of God to do the will of God.

Jesus’ baptism shows that a life that leads only to death interrupted by the will of God, empowered by God is a life that lives on with purpose.

So, is Jesus’ life since it’s now on a 3 downward spiral to death, not blessed? How is God who is pleased in Him, going to allow him to die, isn’t life the ultimate blessing?

What will happen in Jesus life, in these last 3 years, will interrupt all history, it enters into a great exchange in Genesis, lets read it:

Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
15  I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”

So, the pre-gospel here is that while there will be difficulty between the woman and her offspring and satan, He (Jesus shall bruise your (satan’s) head, you (satan) shall bruise his heel). SO, the Satan will get a shot in – we’ll see one of those today in Mark 1:13, but a lesser one a bruise on the heel, whereas Jesus’ will conquer Satan, it was pronounced by God from the beginning.

God then, enacts the plan, but putting a time-clock on life, a great blessing to not leave us separated form Him, but to allow us to leave separation and move on into true fulfillment, presence with God.

Soon after this we get to:

Genesis 3:24 (ESV)
24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

This is the blessing of death. Does that sound odd? Only if we have a “this life” centric view of life, does that sound harsh. In a world without sin, where there was no death, if eternal life was allowed in a sinful state that would be awful, God then set a timer on life separated from him, stated he’d provide a way through the offspring of a woman (think Mary and Jesus), and ushered in eternity with him in new earth realized after Jesus fulfillment.

This is the gospel, this is God’s Kingdom, this is why as the Church we gather, this is what we believe. Because Jesus mission was completed – because He was the perfect offering, we can be known by God, one with God, indwelled by the same spirit that enabled Jesus and live forever in Glory with God. Is salvation back to a life that delivers only death the best thing, no, a pleasing life to God lived in the power of the spirit, bought by Jesus is the best thing this side of the kingdom of God in new earth.

A life that lives on with purpose, here and not as well as there and then.

Think about this, we live in this reality after Jesus immediacy, his immediate need to be baptized, to be about his father’s will (God’s unfinished work, we’ll see in John 4) and to go to the cross and buy salvation for you and for me.

The Temptation of Jesus
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

This is important, as we see that Jesus was pleasing to God, given God’s spirit and the first step after the obedience of His baptism was, testing and temptation. We see the Spirit’s role here – “the Spirit drove him”, out – into the wilderness. It was God’s will that this is how Jesus’ ministry would start with this temptation, this battle, this ushering in of:

Genesis 3:15 (ESV)
13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

In the wilderness being tempted by satan. No sympathy from any other person to encourage him. Simply, Jesus indwelled by the spirit fo God, and all the nastiness that Satan could muster, which we can only imagine. This is the power of this statement:

Hebrews 4:15 (ESV)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

The temptation of Jesus, was the plan of God, encouraged by the spirit, to do battle with an enemy in the aloneness of the wilderness. This is where the giants of the Bible have fallen, in the aloneness of temptation; and where Jesus stood. Moses stood before Pharaoh but his patience failed I the wilderness, David did fine in battle resting under his vine he stole.

Jesus’ is a life that lives on with purpose, here and not as well as there and then.

So the temptation of Jesus is a battle not instigated by the enemy, rather as part of the plan of God to leave behind an already defeated foe – this is the reality for us, our Lord Jesus lived through the desert temptation that took down the “giant” men before Him. So then this is why we cling to texts like Hebrews 12:2.

Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

We look to Jesus, our founder, our perfecter – who for Joy was lead to the wilderness, out of daily life and into 3 years of public ministry with an immediacy. Identified with the God of Baptism and the people being baptized, then off to show God’s glory in temptation, to foreshadow victory, seeing the power of God in Jesus, and God’s plan to defeat sin through His own son, powered by the same spirt that lives in us, helps us put weight on the truth we have faith in. To trust the platform of faith, the spirit of God with the weight of our lives.

This faith, trusting in the spirit of God, the work of Jesus and the plan of God grows when we see Mark’s immediacy. What is that desert temptation, away from others isolated and alone that stands before you? Look at Jesus lead into the wilderness to face his, raw temptation from the very enemy who squares off to us too.

Mark’s concentration was on the immediacy of the plan, and the victory (as well as the abject difficulty of the temptation, the aloneness, even his recovery from this was superseded by the angels) God himself. Mark alone specifically mentions that Jesus was so alone, he was only with wild animals – The immediacy of God’s mission is seen in Christ’s earthly messiahship. Mark’s desire is that would see this is God’s own plan. Salvation will be delivered through His plan, because salvation is for us, not by us. Were then saved to a live that lives on with purpose, how and now – there and then.

Jesus immediacy of mission, God’s calling the mission, the spirits enabling the mission, was all an act of love. Not just to save us to a life that leads only to death but to a life that lives on with purpose, here and now as well as there and then.

Mark’s Gospel leaves us here – no more detail. Others provide more of the story, different perspectives perhaps – again this to me gives MORE validity to the humanity of authorship and thereby the divine protection of the truths of scripture. If each of the Gospel writers recorded the story in the exact same way, I’d smell something fishy. But that they tell the story with a prospective and a purpose makes since, Mark tells of immediacy and mission.

Was this to encourage us, not necessarily, but maybe – it was to leave behind a defeated foe. I’m encouraged by it, to know that the spirit of God and not myself are reliable for desert temptations, encourages me. To know that with immediate purpose on Jesus ministry he was a) identified with His people b) then straight to defeat the enemy of God, encourages me.

This is our new friend we meet in Mark: our new friend in the book of Mark is 1) immediacy and 2) The mission of Messiah

  • a life that leads only to death interrupted by the will of God, empowered by God is a life that lives on with purpose.
  • salvation is for us, not by us.

Church, I don’t know where your wilderness lies, or what it’s like. What the enemy has to tempt you with, that’s tempting because you want it. I don’t know what’s been do to you, I don’t know but I do know this, the enemies purpose for this life is to break you down and separate you from God, to bring you to the wilderness – God’s purpose is to fill you with His spirit, bring you through it, and make you His.

This is why Jesus moved with immediacy to fulfill God’s will – which was to make payment for sin so that we could turn and trust in Him, no longer be alone or lost, Jesus took that burden so that you wouldn’t have to. We’re no longer alone, we’re no longer bare before the enemy in the wilderness – you have the spirit of God who left behind a defeated enemy, a broken foe.

Will you turn to Him? THIS is the greatest blessing not extended life that leads to death, but Jesus death extended to you that leads life! It is the gospel.

Pray, Observe, Apply.
This week, will you not wait for a new year? Will you become a person of the book: Read, apply, and help others to discover scripture.

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