November 21, 2006


Mark's tradition doesn't specify the temptations. We just don't know. The traditions that do specify can for the present purpose be taken to be an alternate Christology.

Mark presents Jesus encountering the Holy Spirit in an ecstatic experience of the heavens being sundered and a voice claiming you are my dearly-beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!

This is a secret event. Jesus hears and sees. No one else does. This troubles the author of John's gospel who transfers the vision to the Baptist so an outside source can witness to Jesus' sonship to Heaven.

For Mark the immediate effect of the immediate result of the descent of the Holy spirit, the sundering of the heavens, the adoption of Jesus by God -- is for the Holy Spirit to drive Jesus into the wilderness to be tested by the satan.

The Holy Spirit does this. And during this time no one was with him but wild animals, and only the angels were there to care for him.

Such is the inward life of the Christ. Sent into harm's way by the Holy Spirit. To be tested by the Evil One. This is what it means to be a son of God. This is what it means to be led by the spirit.


At 12:40 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

Mark tells us that the Holy Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness; he's editorializing about the event. I could just as easily say the the Holy Spirit drove me (or you) into the wilderness; it could be just as true.

I believe Jesus went into the wilderness then, like he did frequently later, to think over what had happened.

The earlier event had certainly been a great "inspiration" to him. It was a sudden realization of who he was. (I've had that experience, too, like many of us.)

When you realize who you are, you do a lot of thinking about how that realization is going to shape your life ahead.

That's what Jesus did.

Basically there's only one real decision (and temptation) in life: to do things God's way or Satan's way. We all decide one way or the the other- perhaps every day.

Thanks for provoking me to some (hopefully) creative thought, as you've done so often in the past.

At 1:36 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

I agree with Larry on this one. From what I've read of the Holy Spirit, it is supposed to be gentle - it doesn't impose, it invites. But maybe it was different with Jesus?

At 6:03 p.m., Blogger david said...

I'm back to my earlier statement -- this is Mark's Jesus and therefore Mark's Christology and Mark's Pneumatology for that matter. So I'm disinclined to try and get behind it per se. I cannot ask -- did the Holy Spirit really drive Jesus or did he freely choose? I can note that for Mark it was important that it happened this way --and then wonder why. What I do see here is a very tight connection between being accepted by God and coming under attack by the powers and principalities -- and the presence of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily shield you from this.

Oddly enough I find this comforting. It reminds me that just because I'm on an emotional and spiritual roller coaster right now, doesn't reflect on God's acceptance of me or the presence or lack thereof of the Holy Spirit with me as I endure it.

At 11:05 a.m., Blogger forrest said...

He's in an ecstasy. He wasn't just floating in that river in a normal condition (except that the heavens happened to be open overhead and a voice was speaking.) The meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything has just zapped wide open in and all around him. The distinction between "doing" something or being "led" or being "driven" may have become utterly moot, at least for awhile.

The two gospels that list temptations put them in different orders, with different emphasis. Here it isn't clear that Jesus is driven into the wilderness "to be tempted." He's been given a lot to digest, and some of the implications are far from easy. Struggling for ways to live with his situation, he inevitably recognizes some of them to be temptations.

Again, I want to take up some of this later.


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