Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus in the Wilderness

Eternity hangs in the balance

Eternity hangs in the balance

“Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (verse 1). It sounds ominous. Knowing you are going into battle with your chief enemy. This too was part of God’s plan and Jesus’ process as our Savior. He went through it so He could identify with us in every way.

The stage is set. Jesus fasts for 40 days. What did He do during those 40 days? I’m sure He prayed A LOT but did that take up all His time? Lengthy prayer time and I are seldom in the same realm with each other. I’m certain God would like that to change. I know I need to visit this area in my relationship with Him.

I got sidetracked looking at the risks v benefits of long term fasting. I have thought about doing a long term fast before but when I do even short term ones I get TOO cranky and weak. I don’t think I, or those who have to live with me, would survive me trying to do a 40 day fast. Did Jesus do a strict fast? I’m sure He had to take in water to survive, but did He do any kind of supplements? I’m sure He was weakened during His ordeal. Was He cranky, like me, too?

Did Satan wait until the last day of Jesus’ fast to try and tempt Him? The bible says that “after fasting 40 days and 40 nights He was hungry and the tempter came…” so I’m thinking he did. Satin started with the most obvious avenue when he did come. FOOD! Forty days without food and hunger returned. Fasting experts call this “true hunger” and it is the point where you move from fasting into starvation if ignored. Jesus stayed strong even when faced with this problem.

Temptation number two was a call to jump. Satan took Him to the highest point in the temple and told Him to jump. Those who are afraid of heights would probably faint at this moment in time. Daredevils might wonder if their clothes could act as a parachute. Strange people like me have actually been on smaller scale precipices and wrestled with the impulse to step off. Fortunately I chose the same option Jesus did here. Mine thoughts weren’t spiritual like His though. More, are you NUTS! I wonder if Jesus had that thought too.

The third temptation Jesus faced really got His ire going. The other temptations were concerned with His physical well being. This one had eternal consequences. A choice between what Satan had to offer in exchange for His soul. Jesus had the ability to choose what was being offered to Him. Satin had the authority to offer what he was presenting. But to take this offer Jesus had to do the one thing that even got angles kicked out of Heaven. Lucifer/Satan/the Angel of Light had done that one thing and received everlasting damnation for it. Separation from God. Jesus would NOT risk that. At this point Jesus rebuked Satan and told him to leave.

I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t rebuke Satan and tell him to leave with the first temptation. Jesus countered him with God’s words each time but He didn’t make him leave until His eternal future was at stake. Did He need to go through all three temptations to complete His “wilderness experience?” Was it so we could identify more clearly with Him? He faced physical AND spiritual testing, just like we do.

His temptation didn’t really end when Satan left and the angels came and ministered to Him. We like to conclude the temptation story here but He faced SO many more temptations throughout His walk here on earth. A couple of examples are Peter offering to build a church to Him (“Get thee behind me Satan…” Matt. 16:23) and the garden of Gethsemane (“Not my will but Yours be done…” Luke 22:42).

Jesus passed all the tests. I DON’T. Neither do the rest of you, so I am not alone in this respect. Thank You God for that. I would be VERY tempted to go back and have a different ending to temptation number two if I believed I was alone. Thank You God that You used imperfect people in the stories You share in Your word. These “heroes of faith” demonstrate to me that You use imperfect people every day. Peter and his peppermint socks (always had his foot in his mouth), David and his eyesight (looking for love in all the wrong places), and Saul/Paul the persistent problem (his VERY zealous attempt to destroy every person of The Way). The best part of all these stories though is that You continued to use these men in spite of their shortcomings and sins. You redeemed their blunders and used then for Your purposes and our good.

Please redeem my mistakes. I have prayed many times that the mistakes I made in raising my children didn’t damage them too much. I pray now that they actually grew or will grow from them. Let them remember them if it makes a difference in their eternal destiny. I know I remember enough of them for us all! Help me know that You have forgiven me for the ones that needed forgiveness and helped me grow me through the others.

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7 Responses to “Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus in the Wilderness”

  1. Victoria Nimmo Walters says:

    …and this is what Lent is all about: spending 40 days living with Jesus in the wilderness. While we aren’t called to fast for the full time period, we are called to ‘live a fasted life.’ The true Lenten fast is not about giving up one’s favorite thing…it’s about identifying something in our life that distracts us from Jesus, offering it up to Him as a sacrifice, and trying to replace it with a spiritual discipline that draws us closer to Him. The ‘goal’ (if one can call it that) is to use the 40 days as a kick start to giving up our distraction for good, not to pick it back up once Easter has passed; to continue in our new-found spiritual discipline, making it part of our lives forever.

    Because we have so many distractions, we have the opportunity each year to work through and replacing ‘just one’–knowing that next year there will be another. What the next one may be, probably won’t manifest itself until the beginning of next year’s Lent–and that’s OK. The process of becoming more like Jesus in our thoughts, desires, and actions is a life long commitment…and it will take a lifetime to live it out.

    • avincent says:

      I like the idea of becoming more like Jesus. As a “protestant” Lent was never a focal point for us. I had heard about it before but didn’t really give it much thought. I always associated it with Catholic and also Mormon faith. I’m sure there are other religions that practice Lent but these two came to mind right now.

      Becoming more like Jesus crosses all faith boundaries so I think I want to include this in my life now. I was actually thinking about Lent previously because of a KLOVE message I heard just before the season of lent began.

      I feel like my commitment or Lent is focusing on resurrecting past commitments that had diminished over time. This bible study and blog are helping me in that area.

      I have been engaging in personal bible time for years but had stopped sharing with anyone what God shared with me. I had even been at a point where I stopped writing with my reading. God brought that part back to me a couple months ago.

      I am SO grateful He gently calls to our spirits regardless of the calendar season, but also thankful that He created seasons of remembrance to turn our attentions back to where they belong.

      My Lent, DAILY bible study, no matter how busy I get. Thank You God too for grace in advance in case (when) I fall short.

      • Victoria Nimmo Walters says:

        I wish your blog comments section had a ‘like’ button. ‘Cause I really like your response to my comment. 🙂

  2. Juanita Nimmo Lunsford says:

    Very good comments sis, however what do you mean by what you said about John the beloved?

    • avincent says:

      That’s a good question mom. In Galatians 2:11-14, Paul publicly confronts Peter. Peter had been eating and drinking with the Gentiles before “some men sent by James arrived” in Antioch. Once these Jewish men, who were of the Circumcision group got there, Peter “drew back and would not eat with the Gentiles” for fear of those who came. Peter’s behavior, and probably his status as an Apostle, got other believers to act the same. Paul called him out publicly to put an end to Peter’s behavior.

      I hope this answers you question. Thanks for asking it.

      • Victoria Nimmo Walters says:

        OK – now I’m confused…I don’t see John the Beloved in your response…

        • avincent says:

          THANK YOU! You comment made me stop cold and realize that I should have said Peter from the beginning an not John. SO, I need to fix that. SO SORRY ALL! Especially to John for my mix up.

          I just corrected my BIG mistake. Thanks for catching it.

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