The Holy Spirit Drove Jesus into the Wilderness to Suffer Temptation!

Posted By on Nov 26, 2020 |

And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness.” Mark 1:12

When most Christians think of Jesus Christ’s suffering, they usually think of His crucifixion; when He atoned for the sins of those who would believe in Him.  It is true Jesus suffered excruciating physical pain at the hands of evil men, and infinitely more from His Father’s wrath poured out on Him on the cross (Acts 2:23, Isa. 53:10, cf. Heb. 4:15).  However, Jesus suffered His entire ministry: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). 

The moment after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, Scripture records the Holy Spirit immediately drove Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mark 1:10, 12).   Of the three synoptic Gospels that record the Temptation of Christ, only the Gospel of Mark documents Jesus being forcefully driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit: “And immediately the Spirit impelled 1 Him to go out into the wilderness.” (Mark 1:12).   Interestingly, the Holy Spirit who only previously gently rested on Jesus “like a dove”, had violently driven the Suffering Servant into the wilderness to be tested.   

Furthermore, God’s Word states Jesus fasted forty days in that arid, parched desert.  John MacArthur notes:

[The Gospels] Matthew and Luke indicate that Jesus went the entire forty-day period without food (Matt. 4:2, Luke 4:2) …He had to face and conquer His strongest enemy even when He was at His weakest.  Mark’s description of Jesus’ temptation implies that the Lord was being tempted by Satan throughout the entire six-week period 2   

Additionally, Jesus was ordained by God to suffer from the time of His Temptation to the time of His death on the cross. (Mark 1:12, Acts 3:18, 4:27-28).   Moreover, He suffered at the hands of man’s [and God’s] greatest foe, Satan.  It is a staggering truth to contemplate, that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (Jn. 3:16).  Jesus suffered immensely in His physical life, so believers will not suffer in their eternal life: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21).  Hallelujah, what a Savior!   

1 Impelled, Ekballo: To lead one forth or away somewhere with a force which he cannot resist.”,, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database.   Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011 by Biblesoft, Inc.

 2 John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Mark 1-8, Moody Publishers, 2015, pg. 44