After the Holy Spirit of God descended upon Jesus at his baptism, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. It was there that the Lord was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus was tempted in every way yet was without sin. What can we learn from his experience?
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Both in his life and ministry and in his time in the wilderness, Jesus was pressured with the same temptations we are faced with. More, in fact, because I have not been tempted in every way. You have not been tempted in every way. Our pitfalls are different and unique one to another. Jesus identifies with each and every one of us. He has been tempted to the point of being able to understand ALL of our temptations.
The devil exploited Jesus’ hunger and tempted him to use his power rather than to rely on the Spirit. Jesus could have created bread to eat – he didn’t. He quoted Scripture – “Man shall not live on bread alone,” from Deuteronomy 8:3. They both knew that verse. The second half is “but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Jesus’ was relying on God for sustenance.
He later told his followers that his bread is to do the will of his Father. From the start to the end of his ministry, Jesus was here to complete the will of God. God’s will was more important to him than his own desires. “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only,” Jesus quoted to Satan.
And as part of his commitment to God and service to God, Jesus trusted his Father. “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Don’t test God; trust God. When God’s Spirit is with you, he is with you. Jesus didn’t need to test that presence and power of God, and neither do we.
When we put our faith in Jesus, the Spirit of God rests on us just like he rested upon Jesus. And when we are committed to worship and serve God only, we will be tempted. This is a certainty in life. The Spirit will see us through. God is with us and will not abandon us.
What are you facing in the pressures of your life and the wilderness you are in? Rely on God in your time of stress and need. He is there for you…