Tempted In Trials

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.  Mark 4:2 (NIV)

Jesus is led into a deserted place where He found Himself tried and tested to His limits.  He was hungry and removed from the help of family or friend.  In His experience do we find a window into what goes on in the unseen realms?  Could we have a peek at the mysterious world where good and evil is brought into confrontation over our souls?  The descriptions are brief, but can we at least catch a glimpse of what the battle is like?  Can we see that both right and wrong would have our hearts?  Can we see that it is a very real and crucial war which rages over each of us?  Could we see how and when the darker forces will attack us?  Could we note, from how our Savior was tempted, some of the very real dangers that we also face each day?  Would a little light into what is going on help us too?

In the first instance we see the master of evil taking advantage of our Savior´s poor condition.  He comes to Jesus when there has been no food.  Jesus is starving and weak.  In this state of need and desperation, the tempter would have us take our eyes off of God.  Jesus saw through the duplicity.  The argument may have been strong.  Jesus needed food.  But Jesus puts God and His will first.  He would make no step unless He knew for sure it was what God wanted.  Even if He was the Son and could turn the rocks into bread, He would not disassociate Himself from God far enough to act out on His own.  So His response to the deception was to declare this condition of His soul.  “We do not live only by the physical food we eat,” He tells the adversary.  Does Jesus win the battle on His own strength?  Or by remaining faithful to His Father?

The next temptation is one of concern.  Jesus is shown all the people and nations that He had come to save.  The Devil knows the depth of Jesus´ love for all God´s children.  Jesus is here to rescue our souls and restore us to the Father.  So He is tempted to cut past everything.  Are the dark forces confirming that for now the world is under the control of evil?  Do we have sufficient proof of this all around?  Can we feel all the pain and suffering throughout our planet?  Do we see all that is not right?  Do we realize that the one who is ruling our creation right now is not a kind or thoughtful governor?  He offers Jesus to hand over the right to rule, if only Jesus will bow to Him.  Is this a clever trick?  Is it what Jesus was here to do?  Yet once again, did Our Savior see that to accept this offer, He would have to bow to one other than God?  Jesus declines the trickery by saying He could never worship any other that God Himself.  Is this a little secret which may help us today?  Might we do well to consider where our loyalties lie?

And last Jesus is tempted to throw Himself down into the hands of the angels.  Would it have been an enticing thought, to be in the arms of caring helpers?  Yet Jesus is not deterred even by quotes from the scriptures.  He chooses not to turn His test around on His Father.   Evil must depart.  Can evil refute such faith?  Could darkness find a way to wedge itself between Jesus and His Father in Heaven?  What could we learn that would help us?

Dear Lord, we face many trials every day.  Show us how darkness would try to creep in and trick us into looking away from You.  Help us to learn from Jesus.  Let us be like Him.  Give us the same Spirit to help us find and focus on You.  Then never let us take our eyes off, no matter what the temptation is.

Amen

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