Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Today, I want to focus on two things. The first is what Jesus faced. The second is what we face. I want to do this because it is critical to know that Jesus faced the same "crap" that we do.
He was Led by the Spirit:
I find this phrase critical because it shows that Jesus' temptations were not just random events where Satan just happened to come up on Jesus. This was a deliberate act of God to put Jesus in harms way. God wanted Jesus to face the garbage that Satan throws at us on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Jesus was thrust into an environment that is not any different from ours.
Why is This Important?
It's simple really. The Father wanted Jesus to experience the same garbage from Satan that we do. Was it for empathy? No. It was for the experience of it. Jesus needed to face the same trials and temptations that we do. The big difference is,
JESUS DID NOT SUCCUMB.
Jesus is the perfect obedience to God's Will. He is not to be an example for us. Jesus is the fulfillment of God's Will because God knows that we will never be able to fulfill God's will. We are free from the stress and strain to "be perfect." Jesus is perfect so that we don't have to be. All we need do is trust Jesus. The rest is easy.
Into the Wilderness:
At the southern end of Israel is an area called, The Negev. It is rocky, arid, and nasty. It is the area where God sent Jesus. It is the area where there is no store for food and barely any water. A person could starve to death in that area. And Jesus was in that area for forty days and forty nights.
All manner of things could have happened to Jesus while He was in the wilderness. I am sure that He lost a lot of weight. The point is, Jesus could have died out there.
We Live in the Wilderness:
But He didn't. As as we wander the wilderness of life, we can starve as well. And I'm not talking about food. I am talking about starvation from the Word of God. The wilderness for us takes on many shapes. For example, the wilderness of work. There is the wilderness of possessions and money, the wilderness of career and work just to name a couple. And Jesus is in our wilderness in order to bring us back to the presence of the Father.
To Be Tempted:
The devil, Satan, "The adversary" was waiting for Jesus to tempt Him at just the right time, from Satan's point of view. Jesus was wandering for forty days and forty nights. Satan thought Jesus was vulnerable. Yet Jesus' rebuffs of Satan's temptations were always founded on the Word of God. Even when Satan used God's Word in order to trip Jesus up. And it didn't work.
Hunger, Power, and Greed:
And the temptations that we face, and will face, are about hunger, power, and greed. All of mankind's sins are founded in those three areas. We hunger for all kinds of possessions, not just food. We think that we are in control, that we have the power to conquer all kinds of problems. And we're greedy for more than just money.
And there is one thing more powerful, satisfying, and humbling. That is the WORD OF GOD. The Word of God is written for our learning, growing, correcting, and rebuking. The Word of God points us to the futility of "chasing after the wind" of modern life. It also points us the Word God who became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have a strong, clean, and powerful life to live humbly for our God because of what Jesus did for us. And the fact that He faced them for us is incredible and full of love.
What are we going to do about it?
Let's talk about the options.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.