Summary: What can we learn from Jesus' 40-day quarantine in the desert?
Last week we talked about how Jesus survived a 40 day quarantine and came out stronger. We learned he realized that God was in complete control and how he relentlessly resisted the temptations of the Devil. Today we are going to learn the other two keys to his being able to come out stronger on the other end of his self-imposed 40 day quarantine in the wilderness of Judea.
Have you ever been so weak that you didn’t know how you were going to make it? Maybe it was weakness from a surgery. I remember when my appendix burst when I was five years old. The poison went through my body and almost killed me. I was in the hospital for two weeks as they pumped the poison and puss out of my body, hoping I would live.
I remember waking up feeling so weak, seeing my mom asleep at my hospital bedside. I didn’t know if I was going to make it.
Or maybe it was a sickness that devastated you. Maybe for some of you it was the Coronavirus. Some who have survived this pandemic have only had mild symptoms. Others have struggled to breath immensely as water has filled their lungs and the virus begins to shut their body.
While most of us haven’t experienced the Coronavirus, all of us have had the flu. I remember just last year having the flu so bad that even standing up to make my way toward the bathroom felt like the end of a marathon or finishing out a Tough Mudder or Spartan race. I was physically depleted.
This must have been how Jesus felt at the end of 40 days without food. He had been without food for 40 days when Satan came and tempted him. He must have felt so physically weak that he cold barely stand up.
Yes, Jesus was fully God, but sometimes I think we underestimate his humanity. He was truly fully human. He got just as hungry, thirsty and tired as we do. In the words of Dr. Dann Spader, expert on the life and ministry of Jesus, he didn’t use his God card. He was fully God and fully human but, as a man, he lived fully dependent on God.
So, when the Bible says that he was hungry, he was hungry. And that’s when the Devil temptation him.
How did Jesus survive that temptation? That leads us to the 3rd way that Jesus survived his 40 day quarantine to come out stronger…
He relied fully on God’s Spirit and Word at His times of weakness.
“He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Luke 4:3
I get “hangry” after four hours with out food let alone forty days! So how did Jesus do it? First of all…
Jesus was “full of the Spirit” during this temptation.
Remember what the beginning of this passage tells us in Luke 4:1, “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.”
Jesus was full of the Spirit and led by the Spirit. This simply means that he allowed the Holy Spirit, the 3rd person of the Trinity, to take the reigns to his life. He was yielding to him and depending on him. In doing so, he allowed the power of God to control his every action. Instead of trusting in his own human strength, he rested in God’s divine power.
Think of it like the difference between jumper cables and an electrical outlet. Often times we are “jumper cable Christians.” We go to church or Bible study or listen to that worship music or podcast that gets us spiritually energized. But over time, like a battery, we lose power. So we go back again and hook our jumper cables up to another sermon or worship song to get charged back up again…then soon after run out of energy. And so we repeat the cycle again and again and again.
But to be “full of the Spirit” like Jesus is more like plugging into an electrical outlet than getting a jolt from a jumper cable. As we “plug into” the Holy Spirit in us, the steady flow of God’s power runs through us and gives us the divine energy to face any trial or temptation. The Great Christian philosopher, Francis Schaeffer, used to call it a moment-by-moment dependence on the Spirit of God.
In the same way that Jesus was full of the Spirit, we can be too! Ephesians 5:18 tells us, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit….”
During this global pandemic where we may feel locked down to a degree we must learn, like Jesus, to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We must learn to live in a moment-by-moment declaration of dependence on Him. He will give us the steady current of his divine power to make it through stronger….just like he did with Jesus.