A voice from heaven declared, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am pleased.” Like many reluctant prophets before Him, Yeshua needed to sort out the implications of the message and the meaning of His destiny. He sought further revelation. In those days, Jewish people seeking revelation went into the wilderness.
The Greek of Mark 1:12 says emphatically: “The Spirit drove him out into the wilderness.” Following the example of John the Immerser, Yeshua went into the wilderness without food or water, relying on God alone. The rugged wilderness west of the Jordan near Jericho is a desolate, dry and thirsty land. Under the heat of that blazing sun, a man without shade and water might die in a single day. Our Master fasted forty days and nights in that desolate land, and the LORD miraculously sustained him.
The forty-day fast alludes to Moses who fasted on Mount Sinai for forty days and nights without food or water to receive the Torah. The forty-day fast also reminds us of the story of Elijah who traveled forty days to Mount Sinai, without food or water, to seek direction from God.
The Master’s forty days in the wilderness (during which He relied on God alone for provision) relived, so to speak, the forty years Israel spent in the wilderness (trusting in the LORD’s provision). Yeshua spent one day for each year that Israel spent in the wilderness. During the Master’s forty days in the wilderness, He encountered temptation and testing. Similarly, the LORD tested Israel during the nation’s forty years in the wilderness:
You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone… (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)
Yeshua quoted this word of Torah in the wilderness, stating, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). He received the revelation He sought: “The devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him” (Mark 1:13).
This article originally appeared on First Fruits of Zion and is reposted with permission.