The Testing of Jesus (Expository Commentary Notes

The Testing of Jesus (Expository Commentary Notes

Mark 1:12-13 GOD’S WORD Translation

12 At once the Spirit brought him into the desert, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days. He was there with the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.

I confess that I have rather a problem with the way most Bible translations render the Greek, here. While tempt is a legitimate translation,  a more accurate would be testing.

How do I arrive at testing being the more appropriate translation? First, you cannot be tempted by something that you do not already want.  (James 1:15)  Since Jesus was both Lord and Creator of all things there was nothing illicit for Him to desire. Secondly, in what is called the Kenosis, Jesus sets aside His Divine Prerogatives and desires so that He may doo the will of the Father. {Philippian 2:7)

Let us remember that the Chalcedonian Definition is teaching us that Jesus is simultaneously veri dei et veri homo (truly God and truly man.)The two natures work in perfect union, despite our feeble mind’s inability to understand this. Therefore, the Divine Nature within Jesus worked in perfect harmony with His human nature whereby He was able to resist the lure of the devil.

A Note About the 40 Days

The 40 days is reminiscent of the 40 years the Children of Israel Spent wandering in the desert. In his Enduring Word Commentary, Dr. David Guzik notes,

Forty – as in the forty days of Jesus in the wilderness – is a number that often shows a time of testing or judgment. In Noah’s flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Israel was in the wilderness 40 years. Moses kept sheep in the wilderness for 40 years. This is Jesus’ time of testing.

The Wild Beasts

Neither Matthew nor Luke mention the wild beasts, only Mark offers this note. What I find most interesting is that Mark gives the impression that Jesus was at peace with the wild beasts and did not need to fear any harm. We can extrapolate two ideas from this:

  1. Jesus, in His unfallen state and position as the Second Adam, communed with the animals in much the same way as the First Adam did.

  2. By logical inference, we conclude that the animals were, in some way, conscious of the presence of the Creator walking amongst them

The angels came and ministered to Him.

Following the successful completion of His testing, the angels came and ministered to Jesus. For a brief instant, Heaven and Earth were as one when members of the Host of Heaven came to attend to the Divine Son.

  1. Campbell Morgan writes, “Morally victorious, He was Master of the creation beneath Him, and the angels ran upon His errands, for such is the real suggestiveness of the word. Thus He is seen as God’s Man, perfect in spite of the temptation!”


Hope for us

1 Corinthians 3:16 points out that the Spirit of Christ dwells within us. The same Spirit who dwelt within Christ dwells with the believer. Therefore we have hope that, like our Master, we will be able to resist the temptation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.