I’ve started the new year doing a Bible reading plan by Lisa Appelo, #100dayswithChrist. The following are thoughts that came out of the first couple of days of reading.
Who is that out in the hot, dry, rocky wilderness alone?
Is that Jesus?
He looks like he’s all alone.
But He’s not really.
He has been led here by the Holy Spirit, who descended on Him visibly like a dove, so the Spirit is with Him. And of course, the tempter. And Mark 1:13 adds an interesting tidbit, that He was with the wild beasts, which Strong’s Concordance indicates, means “dangerous animals“, “venomous, wild.” (2342 – Gk) And Mark adds that the angels were ministering to Him, so it could be that they were protecting Him from the wild beast!? (Psalm 91:11,12)
In Luke we read that not only did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus TO the wilderness, but He led Him around IN the wilderness. He led Jesus around WHILE Jesus was there!
I imagine that after 40 days of fasting Jesus is more than just a bit hungry.
There is no restaurant nearby for Him to go grab something to break His fast.
He can’t just jump into His car and drive to the nearest town.
In order to break His fast, it seems, He will have to walk out of the wilderness just like He walked in, famished or not.
I imagine that His body is demanding food NOW, and that He is feeling very weak physically.
Enter the tempter, who likes to prey on our human weaknesses. What better way to get Jesus to fail than to lure Him while He is weak?
But as hungry and weak as Jesus must feel physically, He knows not to do anything the tempter might suggest.
Even in His weakness, Jesus does not give in, because He is spiritually strong by standing firm on God’s Word.
In Mt. 4:7 we see that Jesus knows that He is God when He says,
“On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.'”
But, Satan is not easily deterred. It’s like he thinks he is so close to victory, like he can taste it, like he is circling around like a bird of prey, ready to swoop down on a vulnerable, unsuspecting animal.
So he has to give it one more try.
He knows that Adam gave him the dominion that rightfully belonged to mankind from the creation of the world. And he offers to share it with Jesus in return for Jesus worshiping him. Isn’t that nice. (Sarcasm)
But Jesus knows Who He is!
He knows that one day all those kingdoms will be His anyway. Why would He give in to the devil for instant gratification? He knows to wait and do things God’s way and in God’s timing.
And He knows that the tempter is just a created being, not deserving of anyone’s worship, and that God will not share His glory with another.
So, He finally tells the tempter to get out!
“For it is written: ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.” Mt. 4:10
I wonder if the angel army was waiting for the signal from the Commander-in-chief? I picture Him sitting on His royal steed with His hand raised, having commanded the angels to await His signal. I wonder if the Father was waiting until Jesus successfully overcame, telling the tempter to leave by the authority of God’s Word? (The reason the Spirit had led Him into the wilderness in the first place was for Jesus to be tempted.) I wonder if the angels gave chase to the devil?
Or did they simply bring Jesus bread and water like the angel did for Elijah hundreds of years before. But why plural “angels” if it was just to bring some bread and water? I’m sure one angel could have handled that assignment alone.
At any rate, it appears that the devil has decided that this is no longer “an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13 NASB)
Bye Bye! And he hightails it out of there!
So what lessons can we take away for ourselves, we who are saved and seeking to walk with God?
- The same Spirit who leads us into the wilderness will lead us around while we are in the wilderness.
- We are not really alone in our wildernesses.
- God will command His angels to protect us from danger.
- The tempter will try to get us while we are weak, but we will have victory by standing on the Word of God. He is our Strength!
- We need to learn God’s Word, like Jesus, so we will know what God says ahead of time and be prepared for spiritual battles.
- Follow Jesus’ example by not giving in to the devil for instant gratification.
- Wait and do things God’s way and in His timing like Jesus did.
- Know who you are in Christ. He has given you the authority over the enemy by His Word and by His Name. See more on this subject here.
May you walk in His victory in this new year, dear one! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
(P.S. I found some interesting pictures of what is in modern Israel called the Mount of Temptation. You can be sure there were no cable cars in His day.) http://www.seetheholyland.net/mount-of-temptation/#jp-carousel-4400
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