Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Matthew 4:1 King James Version
What can we learn from the story of the temptations of Jesus? Perhaps you feel like the Spirit has led you into a desert too, where you are bombarded every minute by the evil forces.
Sometimes the scriptures paint a picture but it is not the clearest of images. People can speculate as to the meanings to be drawn from it and those perceptions may be so different as to even disagree with each other.
Jesus also spoke in parables where the hearers were obviously blessed by hearing, but there was deeper truths hidden for only some to understand. Later He would explain them to His Disciples and even they did not always get the point.
However difficult or varied it may be in understanding the Sacred Scriptures, Jesus did promise to send us One who would help us and aid our learning. He promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into understanding of the Father and the Son. Therefore let us pray that this Spirit come upon us so that we are not left to our own interpretations.
To examine the scriptures even today and whenever we read, let us make room always for that Spirit and listen carefully for His instruction.
In this light, this story of Jesus being tempted can help us greatly.
First it says that the Spirit led Jesus to a wilderness to be tempted. What? We like to think of God as only doing nice things to us. But here He is shown to be purposefully putting His beloved Son in the way of temptation. Should we choose to accuse God of being unfair?
Now we do not possess the knowledge that God has nor can we completely capture exactly all that righteousness is. But if God says that is what He is we will have to give Him that much. If He saw it necessary to allow His son to be put to the test, than for sure it was for a reason and it did bring Him glory when His Son triumphed in His temptation.
Then on the first temptation it says that Jesus had been fasting for forty days. It would be a lie if anyone claimed to know all that was entailed in the miracle of God being made human and living in body as one of us. But one thing we should understand is that Christ did subject himself to those limits that you and I face every day in our natural life. He needed to eat just as much as you and I do.
Those who have never gone without food or drink for a period of time might not realize just how much one can suffer. It is a condition we should never wish upon any other human being. But Jesus did experience this and in His weakest moment, the Devil was there to tempt Him.
Jesus´ reply to the Tempter´s appealing offer is remarkable and can show us where we can find help in our own trials. He refused to let anyone force Him to take His eyes and His heart off of His Father. Jesus would not let even Himself consider His hunger before honoring God.
Christ knew that God can do whatever He wants to do with us in any given moment, and when He says that man does not live by bread alone He demonstrated this to us perfectly. The Devil has no power over that kind of faith and devotion to God.
Next Jesus was taken to a high place on the temple and tempted to throw Himself down. What blessed relief it would have been not to have to carry any further burden. He could have easily given in and left His fate rest in the hands of His Father who loved Him. But once again He refused to consider His personal sufferings over that greater need to honor God. This second test He passed not by wit or strength, but by looking to and lifting up His Father.
Then lastly Christ was taken to the mountain and show all the kingdoms and people of the earth. Satan said something interesting here when He says that He would give them to Jesus. I had never considered this before, but if He told this to Jesus, it is because things must be in this state for the time being. We are all held here on earth within the realm and under the power of the Evil One. This may not be an appealing concept, but if we look around us at the pain, suffering and falsity of our world, perhaps we may begin to see it as being true.
This is why Jesus was here in the first place. His heart went out to us and He was doing His Father´s bidding by submitting Himself to be born under this curse and led like a lamb to be slaughtered. One can only guess of the size of that temptation to have us safely placed under His protection, but once again our Savior wins His victory over temptation. His power, again is His complete service of heart and soul towards and for our God.
Jesus states and shows again what it means to offer up everything to God above. This time they both know there is nothing more to be tempted by. Jesus says, ¨Go Satan; for it is written `You shall do reverence to the Lord your God, and worship Him alone¨. Matthew 4:10 Byingtons
We cannot hope to avoid temptations or troubles while we still walk the face of the earth. But we can overcome and Jesus will be our standard. If you are genuine in your faith, you will look to Him. We would do well to imitate Him and do whatever we can to place ourselves within His reach.
There is a war still raging over the right to rule this world. Our souls are the prize and Jesus has already paid the price. His victory is sure and anybody who would, can be left when it is all over with, standing by His side.
What remains is for us to learn what He tried to teach us. If you think a system of rules or rituals will get you there, good luck! But that is not where Jesus found strength when He was down and being tried. His only hope and His only weapon was His focus on God and His determination to honor Him at all costs. If we arm ourselves in this way today, we will find strength beyond our imagination even in our time of weakness and suffering.
We can triumph as our Lord did, not because we are strong or smart. But because we look to One who is and by honoring Him, then our eternal health is sure.
Blessed are those who look to Him in this way today,