Read Matthew 4-5
Highlight: Matthew 4:1-4
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Jesus’ time in the wilderness and temptation occurred after His baptism. The Spirit appeared as a dove and God’s voice was heard saying “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” God’s Word doesn’t tell us much about Jesus between his birth and the beginning of his ministry. Perhaps Satan was complacent, thinking Jesus would not fulfill his purpose and was the most threatened when he realized Jesus was stepping into his appointed role.
When we have a spiritual breakthrough or a time of growth is when the enemy will attack with his lies and discouragement. Satan doesn’t need to bother with those who are no threat to his deceit. Sometimes when it feels we are being tested it is really God purging our lives of those things, thoughts, emotions, or obsessions that would keep our focus off him and on worldly matters.
Did God have to test Jesus? Jesus is God. Perhaps as with Job, God allowed Satan to take his best shot. Not for Jesus sake, but for ours. Jesus was tempted as a physical man, through hunger, but no food of this earth was as nourishing as His relationship with his Father. Satan went on to test Jesus’ trust in God telling him to jump off a cliff, and his ego by promising him all the kingdoms of the world. Jesus’ response was time after time, “it is written…”
The word of God has a supernatural power beyond our intellectual understanding of the text. The same scripture may have new meaning each time it is read. It prepares us for events we don’t even know will take place. It strengthens us against adversity, and calms us in times of trouble. The word helps us to recognize the temptations Satan puts before us on a daily basis. Some blatant, some insidious that gradually erode our lives and our society.
Dear Lord, our Father and Creator, we praise you for your matchless love. You have spared nothing for our sakes. Help us be aware of when we are being led into a wilderness. It may be a wasteland of loneliness or depression that makes us vulnerable to Satan’s attacks. Help us to stay in your word and to be open to your voice to prevent us from falling to temptation. Help us to discern your truth from his lies so that we may better serve and honor you.
In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen