1st Sunday of Lent
March 9, 2003
Reading I: Genesis 9:8-15 II: 1Peter 3:18-22
12 At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert,
13 and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.
14 After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
15 "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."
(vv.12-13) Mark discussed the temptation only briefly. For Mark, the "wrestling match" between Jesus and Satan, between good and evil, hardly appears a struggle at all.
The "forty days" in the gospel should not be taken literally. It was used often, such as with Moses (Exod 24, 18) and Elija (1 Kgs 19, 8), to mean "a considerable time."
Satan means "adversary," opponent or against the goodness of man, in Hebrew.
The wild beasts could be:
+ People who do not know God.
+ People who are not listening to Jesus.
+ People who oppose Jesus.
+ People who Jesus would be killed by.
These all mean Jesus was conscious of tremendous threats.
(v.14) "After John had been arrested" indicates the work of John the Baptizer had been concluded and Jesus' ministry has begun. John the Baptizer being "handed over" refers to Jesus' death and passion. It's occurrence here makes John the Baptizer's fate foreshadow Jesus' fate.
(v.15) "This is the time of fulfillment" meaning the nature of God's ministry was preaching and accepting the good news. The good news consists of: truth, hope, peace, promise, immortality, and salvation.
Real repentance is "not to be sorry for the consequences of sin but to hate sin itself."
"The kingdom of God" referred primarily to God's future display of power and judgment, to the future establishment of God's rule over creation.
"Believe in the gospel" is to believe in Jesus (the bearer of the message) and His words.
One Main Point
Jesus began his ministry with the message that the very power of God is available to those who open themselves to Jesus and to His gospel and His way of loving service.
What Gospel, or good news, do I hear in Jesus' message?
When we are engrossed in our ministries, do we spend the time to sanctify ourselves?
What are the temptations in my daily life, and where do I sin?
What do I need to do to "repent" and be free of my sins?
In daily temptations, do I recognize aid from the Holy Spirit?