The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. (Mark 1:12)




first sunday in lent

Sermon Starter

Today is the First Sunday in Lent, and that means our Gospel reading today is an account of the Temptation of Our Lord. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this early episode that took place right after Jesus’ baptism. But whereas Luke takes thirteen verses to tell us about the temptation, and Matthew takes eleven, our evangelist for this year, St. Mark, as is his style, covers the temptation of Christ in just two verses, as follows: “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.” That’s it.

Notice also that this account is recorded right away in the first chapter of Mark’s gospel. That’s the way Mark tells the story of Jesus. He gets us right into the action, very direct, straight to it, plunging Jesus right into the conflict and opposition that will mark his ministry and lead to his death. The word “immediately” stands out in Mark’s gospel. When Jesus was baptized, “immediately” he saw the heavens opening.  And then the Spirit “immediately” drove him out into the wilderness. Wham! Bam! Straight to it! “Immediately”!

And so then Jesus goes “immediately” from his baptism in the Jordan to his temptation in the wilderness. And what I want you to see today, is that this is how it is for us, too. We who have been joined to Jesus in Holy Baptism, we the baptized are also the tempted. There is no escaping it.  We go immediately from the water to the wilderness.”

Collect of the Day

O Lord God, You led Your ancient people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide the people of Your Church that following our Savior we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.