Summary: For us, as Christians, it helps to realize that we are not alone. As a matter of fact, our founder, Jesus Christ himself, was himself under a 40 day self-quarantine. What can we learn from him?
Right now it we are in the middle of, what feels like, a global quarantine. Countries around the world have locked down and shelter-in-place laws are in play in cities from Paris to Portland.
When will it end? The world is getting stir crazy!
For us, as Christians, it helps to realize that we are not alone. As a matter of fact, our founder, Jesus Christ himself, was himself under a 40 day self-quarantine. Yes, I’m talking about his 40 days in the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil.
This quarantine was ordered, not by government, but by God himself. During these 40 days Jesus experienced the most extreme form of social distancing. For 40 days and 40 nights he encountered no other humans.
This took place in the wilderness, most likely near the Wadi Qelt. This is the long path that extends from Jerusalem to Jericho and it is in the center of what is called the Judean wilderness. This path runs along a deep valley with steep walls. To this day it is a lonely desolate place where you would never want to spend the night alone there.
It was here, or close to here, toward the end of the 40 days of fasting, where Satan sought to tempt Jesus and disqualify him as the Savior of the world.
What was Jesus doing during that time? According to Dr. Dann Spader this was a time of prayer, planning and preparing for the launch of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
Think of it as a 40 day strategic planning session with the Trinity in the wilderness. For much of the time it is most likely Jesus was praying, planning and getting ready for the 3 ½ years of ministry that lay ahead.
Let’s read the full story in Luke 4:1-14
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’’ The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.” Luke 4:1-14
So how did Jesus survive a 40 day quarantine and come out stronger? Here’s how:
He realized that God was in complete control.
Take a look at the first two verses and this becomes clear. Here we see that God controls his servants and both the situation they are in and timeline they are under. Look again at verse 1 and 2,
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” Luke 4:1,2
He controls his servants.
Luke uses the phrase “led by the Spirit” but Mark 1:12 uses the phrase “sent by the Spirit.” The Greek word is an action word, "ekbállo" (“ek” means “out.” “Ballo” means “to cast, drive, throw”)…Literally it means to drive out…to cast out…to throw out… The Spirit of God drove Jesus into the wilderness.
Have you ever had that deep conviction that God wanted you to do something. It wasn’t just an inkling but a divine directive that you knew in the core of your soul was God?
Romans 8:14 reminds us, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” We must constantly be in communion with the Spirit to get our marching orders. Why? Because God is in control of his servants! Sometimes he leads us gently toward his will. Other times he drives us!