5. Christs long fast in the wilderness
THEN was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. He was there in the wilderness forty days, and was with the wild beasts.
In those days he did eat nothing. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was a hungered.
The tempter came: he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But Jesus answered,
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Then, in Jerusalem, the holy city, on a pinnacle of the temple, the devil saith unto Jesus, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash they foot against a stone.
Jesus answering said,
It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again, up an exceeding high mountain, the devil sheweth him, in a moment of time, all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, and saith unto Jesus, All these things will I give thee; all this power, and the glory of them: if thou wilt fall down and worship me, all shall be thine.
And Jesus answered,
Get thee behind me, Satan; get thee hence: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil leaveth him.
Scripture: Matthew 4:1-11
Meditation 1 of 1:
Do you ever feel compelled or driven to do something radical for God? Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to spend forty days and nights in prayer and fasting in a lonely place. Why was he compelled to seek solitude for such a lengthy period? Was it simply a test to prepare him for his ministry? Or did Satan want to lure him into a trap? The word tempt in English usually means to entice to sin. The scriptural word here also means test in the sense of proving and purifying someone to see if theyare ready for the task at hand. We test pilots to see that they are fit to fly. Likewise God tests his servants to see if they are fit to be used by him. God tested Abraham to prove his faith. The Israelites were sorely tested in Egypt before God delivered them from their enemies. Jesus was no exception to this testing. Satan will surely tempt us and will try his best to get us to choose our will over God’s will. If he can’t make us renounce our faith or sin mortally, he will then try to get us to make choices that will lead us, little by little, away from what God wants for us.
Jesus was tempted like us and he overcame not by his own human strength but by the grace and strength which his Father gave to him. He had to renounce his will for the will of his Father. He succeeded because he wanted to please his Father and he trusted that his Father would give him the strength to overcome the obstacles that stood in the way. Luke says that Jesus was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1). When tempted by the devil Jesus did not try fight his adversary on his own human strength. He relied on the power which the Spirit gave him. Jesus came to overthrow the evil one who held us captive to sin and fear of death (Hebrews 2:14). His obedience to his Father’s will and his willingness to embrace the cross reversed the curse of Adam’s disobedience. His victory over sin and death won for us not only pardon for our sins but adoption as sons and daughters of God.
How can we overcome sin and oppression in our personal lives? The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit to be our strength, guide and consoler in temptation and testing. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to pour out his Spirit upon us that we may have the strength and courage to resist sin and to reject the lies and deceits of our enemy Satan. God wants us to “fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Tim. 6:12) with the power and strength which comes from the Holy Spirit. Do you rely on the Lord for your strength and help?
“Lord, your word is life and joy for me. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may have the strength and courage to embrace your will in all things and to renounce whatever is contrary to it.”