February 21, 2021

When Wild Animals Attack

Passage: Mark 1:9-15

Some have argued that the wild animals in Mark’s account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness are not necessarily threatening Jesus. But that interpretation of these “wild animals” is unlikely. I think more likely that we are seeing enacted here the struggles of the one Hebrews 4:15 says has been tested and tempted “in every way as we are.” Israel was tempted and tested in the wilderness and often flunked the exam. Ezekiel 20:13-22 speaks about Israel’s failure and the justly deserved punishment by God upon them. Reading the story of Jesus in the wilderness, compared with Israel’s bittersweet memories of its time in the wilderness, reminds us that the wilderness is a place of struggle. Who will survive and triumph in this time of testing?

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