The Temptation of Jesus is recorded much more thoroughly in Matthew 4:1–11 and Luke 4:1–13. Jesus spent the forty days following His baptism alone in the desert wilderness. This time of solitude included temptation and dangers from wild animals, but also the blessings of angels “ministering” to Him or serving Him.
Satan tempts Jesus in three circumstances. The first temptation is to cut short the time of discipline the Holy Spirit had given Him. Jesus is enticed to cater to His physical needs after forty days of fasting. Jesus chooses instead to rely on God’s Word.
Second, Satan tempts Jesus to abuse His power. Jesus responds by pointing out that it is sin to test God.
Finally, Satan tries to bargain with Jesus, offering Him authority over sinful man if He will worship Satan. Satan’s interaction with the human race is an attempt to gain the attention and worship he thinks he deserves; he is more than willing to forgo our considerations to get God’s. But Jesus knows that salvation is found only in God and His plan for Jesus’ sacrifice. Had Christ accepted that offer, humanity might have shed the earthly influence of Satan, but would also have lost access to a Savior. “Rescuing” us from Satan’s influence would condemn us for eternity. Not to mention, we are to worship God alone.
This is one of only five times Mark directly mentions angels (Mark 8:38; 12:25; 13:27, 32). Here they minister on earth, but elsewhere in Mark, angels come from heaven to earth or are already in heaven. Mark describes angels as being closely associated with God the Father. In associating angels here with Jesus, Mark is again showing Jesus is more than a prophet, but rather is served by angels just like God the Father. Only the Messiah, the Son of God, would be served by angels in this way.
John the Baptist is introduced as a figure preparing the world for the arrival of the Messiah. John’s baptism teaches people about their need for repentance. When Jesus arrives, and is baptized, it signals the coming of God’s fulfillment and the need of people to recognize their Savior. Mark briefly notes Jesus’ baptism, desert temptation, and the calling of the first four disciples. After this, Jesus begins teaching in the synagogue and performs miraculous healings which spread His fame around the region.
Mark 1:1–13 rapidly introduces the ministry of Jesus, as introduced by John the Baptist. While other Gospels include many details, the Gospel of Mark briefly sets the stage for Jesus’ baptism by John. In a few short verses, we are told that John preached a message of repentance, that Jesus came to be baptized, and that Jesus spent forty days being tempted in the wilderness. The narrative quickly moves on to describe Jesus’ miraculous healings.