Do you find it incomprehensible that the Holy Spirit led Jesus, the Son of God, into the wilderness specifically to be tempted? In other words, this was no accident; it was intentional.
This is the same Jesus, who had been supernaturally introduced by the Father and confirmed by the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased,” (Matthew 3:16-17).
And the very next thing that happens…“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil,” (4:1). This word, “then” translated from Greek, means “a point of time subsequent to another point of time.” After Jesus is presented as the Son Who pleases the Father, the Spirit leads Him to face the enemy, a deliberate act, calculated in its timing.
Again, His ways are so much higher than ours. Before He would begin His public ministry, Jesus the Man was prepared by the Holy Spirit, through perseverance and triumph in temptation.
- Before He began any ministry, He was tempted. (4:12-14)
- Before He began to preach, He was tempted. (4:17)
- Before He called His first disciples, He was tempted. (4:18-22)
- Before He began to teach and proclaim the gospel, He was tempted. (4:23)
- Before He healed any, He was tempted. (4:23-24)
Consider His Preparation
Jesus was tempted in order to be proven the perfect, sinless, spotless Lamb of God. “…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ,” (1 Peter 1: 18-19).
Jesus was tempted, as our Mediator and High Priest, in order to sympathize with our weaknesses. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin,” (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus was tempted in every area, as every human ever born is tempted. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world,” (1 John 2:16).
- Jesus was tempted with all that is in the world.
- The lust of the flesh: And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (4:2-3).
- The lust of the eyes: Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” (4:8-9).
- The boastful pride of life: Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.” (4:5-6).
Jesus overcame every temptation with the very Word of God!
- But He answered and said, “It is written,…” (4:4).
- Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written,…” (4:7).
- Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written,…” (4:10).
“Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him,” (4:11).
How are we to respond to His preparation?
- If our Lord and Savior was prepared for ministry through temptation and suffering, how can we think our preparation will be different? Let us learn from Him; He is our perfect example.
- “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;” (1 Peter 2:21-22).
- Let us not be caught off guard or surprised.
- “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;” (1 Peter 4:12).
- Let us find joy in the truth that He is preparing us, just as the Son was prepared.
- “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” (James 1:2-4).
- Let us confidently run to Him when faced with temptation. He too has been there and has endured; He sympathizes and gives us all we need!
- “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
- Let us always accept His way of escape.
- “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it,” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
- Let us be spiritually prepared to do battle with God’s powerful offensive weapon He has so graciously provided, the Word of God, and follow the example of our perfect, sinless Savior. Let us fervently hide His Word in our heart that we might not sin against our Holy and Gracious God.
- “Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You,” (Psalm 119:11).
- “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. …and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Ephesians 6:11, 17).
- “Your word I have treasured in my heart,