Monday, March 05, 2018

Wild Beasts

I'm participating in an e-course called Easter Earthquake: How Resurrection Shakes Our World. It's based on a book written by James A. Harnish and is led by him online. 

Today's meditation was entitled "Wrestling Wild Beasts with Jesus." One of the scriptures to read for the day was Mark 1:12-13:

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan  and he was with wild beast;and the angles waited on him.  

The time Jesus spends in the wilderness is also described in Matthew and Luke, but in those gospels, the specific temptations Jesus faced are described. I've never noticed before that in Mark, they aren't.  

He is tempted by Satan - the Greek verb used is peirazo - and it is used later to describe the action of Jesus' opponents in Jerusalem ("The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him." Mark 8:11 and then again in Mark 12:13-17).  I find that very interesting.

But what about the wild beasts? My study bible says this reference is unclear.  Harnish compares it to the wild beasts we face every day.

I like that image. What are the wild beasts of temptations you face every day? What wild beasts stalk you in the wilderness? When Mark doesn't name them, we are able to name them ourselves. I think it helps us to remember that Jesus faced temptation in the wilderness, and that he walks with us in our own wilderness, whatever the wild beasts might be.

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