“and He was with the wild beasts”

In Mark 1, Jesus is baptized and then sent out to the wilderness by the Spirit.  Verse 13 says:

“And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.”

Is there any significance for Mark to mention that Jesus was with the wild beasts?  Does it add meaning to Jesus’ time in the wilderness?  “The Gospel According To Mark” suggests something interesting and compelling, given the audience Mark is writing to.  During the persecution of Nero in the 60’s, he threw many Christians to be devoured by wild beasts in Rome.  So at the time, Mark’s Roman audience was very aware of the dangers and destruction of “wild beasts”.  The author states, “it is not difficult to imagine Mark including the unusual phrase ‘with the wild beasts’ in order to remind his Roman readers that Christ, too, was thrown to wild beasts, and as the angels ministered to him, so, too, will they minister to Roman readers facing martyrdom.”

While there is no way to ensure that this is exactly why Mark included this, it seems fitting for who Mark was writing to (Romans), where he was writing from (Rome), and what was going on at the time.


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