The Temptation of Jesus
1Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,a 2where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing all that time and became very hungry.
This section on the temptation of Jesus is really full of guidance and inspiration. I usually end up breaking it apart a lot. If I don’t I feel like I’m trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose.
You know what I think of when I read these two verses – bootcamp. This is the Son of God who is about to start his public ministry. He’s fairly old for his time at age 30 and I have no doubt he has been preparing his entire life for this. So why does Jesus need to go spend 40 days in the wilderness with Satan being tempted while he refuses to eat anything?
Perhaps the bigger question is: If Jesus needed to be in the wilderness dealing with temptation, why do we think we don’t have to?
Let me throw this out there as a suggestion. In almost every area of life, once you’ve done something very, very difficult, doing easier things becomes no big deal. I remember when I farmed 35 years ago. One day a silage wagon with about 8 tons of silage broke and it couldn’t be fixed till it was empty. I was the only one there that day so I had no choice. The job looked impossible but I grabbed a pitchfork and started in. Hours later, the wagon was empty. A few days later it was time to fork the manure out of the calf barn. I once thought it was the worst job on the farm. Suddenly, it was no big deal.
Jesus was about to start a ministry that the entire universe depended on. Satan knew who Jesus was and he would try to trip Jesus up relentlessly. You see, if Jesus sinned just once, his mission of salvation became mission impossible. We are all wise to consider whether we can finish a project before we start it. I think that is what Jesus did here. He went off to the wilderness to have Satan take his best shots so the rest of the his temptations would look like no big deal.
But how does that pertain to us. First of all, life is a wilderness for most of us most of the time. We meddle here and try there but do we ever really decide to take the time and make the sacrifice to have a faith bootcamp with Jesus and Satan? That’s right, we don’t have to go into it alone, Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to go with us.
I’ve never done it, but this moment I’m considering trying this Jesus’ style. I have things in life that trip me up and cause me to sin. I’m pretty lost a lot of the time. I often am so deep in the wilderness I have no idea where I am. Maybe it’s time for a Jesus style bootcamp.
Wow Lord, that was pretty long winded on my part from just 2 verses. Give me the courage to not just yak about it, but do it.