Summary: Do we find ourselves in the 'desert' of life with temptations coming at us from our adversary? Jesus has been there...He knows what to do.
Jesus in the Desert - The Temptation of Jesus - Matthew 4:1-11 January 24th, 2010
1Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'[a]"
5Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6"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.'[b]"
7Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'[c]"
8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'[d]"
11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (NIV)
a. Matthew 4:4 Deut. 8:3
c. Matthew 4:7 Deut. 6:16
d. Matthew 4:10 Deut. 6:13
One night an Arabian fellow had settled in for the night and had just fallen asleep when his camel stuck his head in his tent and explained that it was awful cold and asked permission to just stick his legs inside the tent to keep them warm. Granting him permission the man went back to sleep. A little while later the camel woke him up a second time and asked permission to stick his head in. Again permission was granted. This continued on throughout the night until finally the man woke up to find the entire camel in the tent with him. When he told the camel that there just was not enough room in the tent for the both of them the camel suggested that the Arab might want to leave.
That is exactly what Satan does. He slips into our lives a little at a time and one day we wake up alarmed and we tell him that there just is not enough room for both he and Jesus in our lives. To which he suggests that Jesus might then want to leave....
Jesus has just been baptized. The voice of the Father in heaven speaks and declares his love and appreciation of his Son, Jesus Christ, for all to hear. The Holy Spirit comes down out of heaven, in physical form like a dove, and rests upon Christ. What an awesome sight that must have been! All things look good for the Son of God to start his ministry, right?
Then we read this in the 4th chapter on Matthew, the first chapter of Mark, and the fourth chapter of Luke…Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert/wilderness. A better translation of ‘led’ might be as we find in the Gospel of Mark, where we read the word:
Ekballei – The Spirit ‘cast out / drove’ Jesus into the desert (Mark 1:12).
Jesus was cast into the desert by the leading of the Holy Spirit of God…and why? To be tempted by none other than the devil himself.
Deserts are not what I would call my favourite holiday hotspot. Hot, definitely, nice, no.
Deserts are places that receive less than 10” of rain in a year. We get that here in a few days sometimes. Deserts are defined by their lack of vegetation and bodies of water, the ground is made up of sand, rock, gravel, and is devoid of good soil. Deserts experience some of the widest temperature ranges in a 24-hour period. It can be 45° in the daytime and below freezing at night due to the lack of humidity. They support very little life.
But above all, we know deserts to be hot, really hot, hot and dry and…hot! Miserably hot. Unbearably hot. Where do I find a swimming hole?? (oh look, a mirage!) hot!
And it is into this desert that Jesus is thrust by the Spirit, to wander for 40 days with nothing to eat, nothing to drink, just desert as far as He could see. No glorious beginning to a world-changing ministry, no parade for the salivation plan of God to kick-off, no crowds of followers for Jesus. No, he is sent into the desert, alone with his thoughts, and the Holy Spirit. He wandered in it, he slept in it, he prayed in it, he sought shelter within it, he longed to be out of it, but there he was…and in this awful, miserable place, Jesus met up with one who hated him and longed to see him die there, Satan.