30 October 2013

Temptation in the Wilderness (Jesus' Story, Day 30)

The Bible is so full of profound and definite things to think about that we often miss some of the most interesting spaces it leaves, spaces only to be filled in when we have the perspective of eternity.

Here's what I mean.  Luke says this:  "And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil.  And in those days He did eat nothing:  and when they were ended, He afterward hungered."  
Luke 4:1, 2 

Let's just stop for a second and notice that Jesus was tempted during the full forty days.  I most often look at the story as if Jesus fasted, spending time gaining strength from His Father, and then at His weakest physical point endured the temptations of Satan himself.

Yet the way Luke describes it, there seem to have been temptations throughout the forty days. 
Constant opportunities to break out of communion with His Father for quick "relief".  Constant chances to look out for Himself instead of follow through on His mission.  Constant chances to let the total mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion of the experience overcome Him.

He was hungrier than I have ever been; He was thirstier than I have ever been; He was out in the unpleasant elements longer than I have ever been; He went through temptation after temptation without relief.  I can't fathom the desert experience He went through, but He went through it to bring an ultimate end to our lifetime of deserts.

The devil came in at the end of these hungry, thirsty, sun-beated days for his last great attempt at keeping you and me in a desert forever, with no hope.  He was right about one thing--Jesus could have made the stones into bread.  He easily had that power.

But what Jesus could not do, except at the cost of His whole mission, was use His power for selfish pursuits, or prove who He was by anything that would contradict His revealed character in the Word of God.

The difference between making bread for Himself and making it for a multitude or two later in His ministry was just that, the difference between looking out for Himself and looking out for the people He came to save.

Linger in that desert with Jesus for just a moment, just long enough to appreciate the intensity He suffered for you.  Then follow the story through to His victory.  Study how He overcame by the Word of God.  Study how He told the devil to get lost, because He would never break the commandment of God.  Study how Jesus refused every quick fix and every false glory, enduring to the end to gain the truest victory ever won.

Then go, and do likewise.

Trials or no trials, whether your needs are provided for in that moment or not, just follow after Jesus.  His footsteps are the only ones that lead out of the desert, rather than around and around in it forever.  Trust Him for the things you need--they may not come from the hand of an angel like they did for Jesus, but Jesus promised to supply all your needs according to His riches (see Philippians 4:19), and His promise cannot fail.

(Click button for series index.)
Grab button for LADDER OF MERCY (Photo by Barbara Frohne

1 comment:

  1. My vote: Best in the series. Great reminder that Jesus was tempted all forty days -- in fact, every day of His life in more ways than we EVER will be... yet without sin.

    Love Languages seminar ending: Ps 33:18-22 about the Lord keeping us alive in famine. I wrote in my margin, "Even a famine of human love." Ps 78:19, the Israelites ask "Can God spread a table in the desert?" YES.


Greetings, fellow climbers! Leave your marks on the steps--I'll be delighted to hear from you.