So most of us have heard the story of the temptation of Jesus, at least I thought I knew the story.
A few weeks ago the Holy Spirit prompted me to start studying this story in the gospels. So I went and read it in each gospel.
The temptation of Jesus is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, and Luke and each one is slightly different. I encourage you to go and read each account for yourself, but I just want to point out a few things I learned from reading these stories.
First, Jesus wasn’t just tempted 3 times. So for some reason I thought Jesus was only tempted the 3 times we read about in the story, but Luke tells us in chapter 4 verses 1 -2 that Jesus was actually tempted for 40 days.
“Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the devil for forty days. Jesus ate nothing at all during that time and became very hungry.”
Mark 1: 12-13 says this, “The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where He was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.
So, if Jesus was tempted for 40 days and the disciples decide to focus on these 3 temptations, they must be important.
As I started meditating on these the Holy Spirit reminded me of this: Everything Satan tempted Jesus with, Jesus eventually accomplished in His ministry. He multiplied bread, He took back all authority over the earth, and He demonstrates the power of God over and over again.
Here’s what I think the devil was really saying, “Take the easy road. Don’t wait on God’s timing. I’ll give you what you want without the cross. Don’t do things God’s way – take charge of your own life. Don’t let God promote you, promote yourself and show us all how powerful you are.”
Now how many of us can relate to some of that?
I think what Jesus was trying to show us through this story, and why the disciples chose to highlight these temptations, was that God knew we would be tempted to skip the process.
Even Jesus had to walk through the process before He could enter into His divine destiny.
God’s timing and God’s way of getting you from point A to point B can often feel like a grueling process. I imagine Jesus was pretty tired after 40 days of not eating, and being tempted by Satan himself. I’m sure there were times when Jesus was going, “Is this really necessary?” and the Father was saying, “yeah – you need the wilderness. You have to have the wilderness before you can get to the promise.”
I know this is getting long, but I feel its so important that we realize the enemy is not tempting us with things we will easily say no to. He’s coming in with some enticing stuff, and he’s saying to you and to me, “Don’t wait on God. Do it yourself. Don’t walk the process, skip the hard stuff.”
But looking past that noise, you will hear the Father gently reminding you to trust Him. Reminding you that He sees the beginning from the end, and He never leads you to anything that is not good. Hear Him telling you to walk it out. Walk out the process of healing, of growing and maturing. Because what is waiting for you, needs you to walk the wilderness.
No one said it was easy, but Mark tells us this: “He was out among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him.”
The Father will send His angels and His Spirit to take care of you in your wilderness. Jesus stayed in the wilderness for 40 days, but the Israelites stayed for 40 years. Why?
I think your time in the wilderness is up to how willing you are to walk through it. You can move through, or you can linger because you don’t want to walk the process.
Don’t take the easy way out friends. It never does you any good. Trust your Father. Listen to His voice guide, comfort, and encourage you in your process. Remember He has your absolute best in mind, and His plans are way better than your own.