I've come to understand more and more how much of a treasure the Scriptures are. New readings of the same passages seem fresh and I am given the perception to see things I hadn't seen before. There are sadly days where I am rushed in the morning (which is my fault) and I quickly read through and as a result, I am not nourished by the Word at all that morning. Or there are the dreaded days where I am distracted and robbed of focus, or even days where I neglect to do it at all. But the Word is so sweet to me. I don't have a greater treasure in my room. I used to feel discouraged when I couldn't understand a passage, but now I feel excited! It excites me to encounter those passages where I am forced to stop and ask, “where did that come from?”; those passages where it feels like it came up out of nowhere and seemingly has nothing to do with the previous passage, or seems insignificant – which means there is something significant about it. Now I love those moments. I pray that God would help me understand His word, and the meanings of it. In my recent reading, this verse especially made me stop and think:
“And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.”
Now, this verse isn't out-of-the-blue where it was, but there was a phrase in it that grabbed my attention. It was the phrase, “and was with the wild beasts”. Really that piece of information seems unsurprising, being apart of the wilderness setting Jesus was in. However, I had to stop at this verse and ask why Mark even puts it in here. It is appropriate to the setting, but seemingly insignificant. One might think it could easily be taken out and nothing would change, so why is it there? Obviously there is a reason that that little phrase is inserted in here. Nothing else comes of it really; there is no incident where it goes on to account Christ being threatened by a wild animal. So this verse struck me.
After praying, I took notice of the temptation aspect in this account. This was the passage where Christ was being tempted by Satan. Then I saw something in this passage that I thought was really cool! And it all came from that moment where I took notice of the strange, seemingly insignificant phrase.
Other than Christ's temptation, what is the most significant temptation you can think of in the Scriptures? I am going to guess you'd say the temptation in the Garden. This is what I saw in this verse. I this verse, we get a picture of the contrast between the first Adam and the Second Adam: where the first was in the Garden of Eden, the Second was in a wilderness; where the first had a secure, plentiful supply of food, the Second fasted; where the first had a helpmeet, the Second was alone; where the first was around tame animals of no threat, the Second was with wild beasts; and where the first was tempted once and failed miserably to the death of mankind, the Second, in the very trying setting, was tempted more than once and was victorious for the life of those who are given to Him!
What an amazing contrast! I know I have not said anything new; just read Paul's writings. Jesus has done what we could not do. He suffered greatly and remained absolutely faithful. He is not a mere man, but God in the flesh. And He did not die, but conquered death, by raising Himself from the grave. It is the greatest miracle and work of God. He is living now, and coming soon. Let's be ever watchful as we eagerly wait for Him. Brothers and sisters we have a great hope we wait for! When this is all gone we will all be with Him, for eternity, in perfection. He suffered for that.