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Yeshua in Context » Background to Gospels, Identity of Yeshua » Yeshua, Driven as a Prophet

Yeshua, Driven as a Prophet

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

What is this phenomenon of Yeshua being compelled or carried to the desert by spiritual force? The word for “drove” is the same used for driving out evil spirits in many verses in the gospels and for removing the speck from the eye in Matthew 7:4. Yeshua was driven, removed, cast into the desert. Why?

As Adela Yarbro Collins explains (Mark: A Commentary, Fortress, 2007), this is the same kind of spiritual movement recorded in many stories of the prophets.

Obadiah was suspicious that if he helped Elijah, the prophet would be carried away by the Spirit and then Obadiah would be in danger of Ahab’s wrath (1 Kings 18:12).

Elijah was energized with power from God and ran before Ahab’s chariots (1 Kings 18:46).

When Elijah ascended, the sons of the prophets thought the Spirit had cast him up on a mountain (2 Kings 2:16).

The Spirit lifted Ezekiel (by the head?) and carried him all over (3:12-15; 8:3; 11:1, 24; 37:1; 43:5).

Mark 1:12 is one of many examples revealing Yeshua’s identity as a prophet, and a prophet like Elijah (and Ezekiel). The prophetic identity of Yeshua is not insignificant simply because he is also Messiah and Lord. Yeshua was and is many things, all of them calling us to heed his words and follow his example.

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