Led by the Spirit
Immediately after His baptism, when He was filled with the Holy Spirit, seemingly in a greater way (Luke 4:1), and God the Father spoke His love over Him, Jesus was led by the Spirit into a forty-day time of testing and temptation in the wilderness. Of course, this time echoes Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the desert before reaching the land God had promised them. Jesus’ obedience to God in the face of what must have been overwhelming temptation to exercise His divine qualities seems incomprehensible to us. He was hungry, thirsty, and exhausted. And yet He resisted all that Satan offered, all that could have relieved His suffering.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
As much as you are able, allow yourself, by your imagination to enter the scene of Jesus’ time in the wilderness. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel about Jesus as He suffers with hunger, thirst, and exhaustion? What do you notice about Jesus as He encounters and responds to Satan? What can you learn about dealing with temptation from entering Jesus’ experience?
God, thank You for the powerful example of Jesus, led by the Spirit, in disempowering the schemes of Satan. I need this too. I can get twisted up in my own heart and mind, falling into the lies Satan seeks to have me believe and accept as truth. Fill me with Your Spirit in a greater way and help me to yield to Your Spirit. Give me the heart to want to follow and the courage to stand up to what’s true. Amen.
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