KEY SCRIPTURE Luke 4:1-14 The 40-Day Fast and the three Temptations.
RELEVANCE Following His water baptism by John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit landing on Him like a dove, Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit for the next part of His induction. He was to undertake a 40-day fast during which Satan tempted him. Following that, He endured three further specific temptations.
During the 40 days, I feel Satan tempted Jesus with the usual things he uses on us. But then, in Satan's ambush at the end of Jesus' successful 40 days, Satan introduced three unique challenges.
To get Jesus to satisfy his hunger with a miracle
For Jesus to worship Satan, who will give Him all power
For Jesus to command His protective angels to do their job
These three short trials may seem odd to humans, but we do not appreciate the difficulty or gravity.
While going through these scriptures, I couldn't help reflecting on Satan's cunning temptation of Adam and Eve and their immediate expulsion from the Garden once God established guilt.
Could a similar thing have happened to Jesus if He failed in the fast or the ambush? Could He have been cut off by the Holy Spirit?
Verse 1 states Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. But, remember, He still was human at this stage. Had He been superhuman and able to endure without effort, the fast would have been laughable—a waste of time. We couldn't follow that!
One slip, one breach of temptation and what would have happened to Jesus' power? No longer the holy vessel. More the holey vessel.
Where would the resurrection be? What about the healings, teachings, and casting out of demons? How could He have cautioned the scribes and Pharisees when He had not endured His own trials?
We owe Jesus more than we will ever appreciate.
He calls us to endure temptations to bring our callings and ministries to pass. This is important stuff. Jesus cannot return to a body or bride that hasn't overcome.
We are stronger than we think. We can rely on the Holy Spirit more than we realise. And Satan will leave off trying us for a while once he sees our resolve to succeed and the power within.
When we dwell on the temptations of Jesus, we see how much of His life He laid down for us.
PRAYER Dear Lord, thank you again that Jesus laid down His life for me. Everything He endured was for others, so He could be the perfect sacrifice. I still struggle to get my head around it, but I am eternally grateful.
Photo by Roger Bradshaw