Words of Faith 3-16-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert,  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.
It should have been the most exciting day of His life. If ever the human side of Jesus had pondered the call upon His life or wondered about the uniqueness of His life and birth, now those questions were answered in the power of His baptism: "You are my son whom I love in whom I am well pleased." God had made it clear that this was the dawn of the Messianic age. That reassurance would be very important to remember. But now? From the human side, it was now time to start the ministry for which He had waited 30 years, or really since the creation.
So how do you usher in the Messianic Age? How do you announce clearly that the Kingdom of God is at hand? How do you effect the sorts of changes that will reflect that Kingdom? In short, how do you "be the Messiah"? There were no seminars at the Hilton on messiahship: "Learn to be the Messiah in one day for $49". Nothing like that. And what the people expected the Messiah to be and what Scripture actually prophesied He would be were really quiet different.
There was only one thing to do within this frail human existence and that was to seek God. Draw near to God. Ask God. Jesus might have gone to the Temple or to a Synagogue for prayer. But the Spirit of God did a strange thing. The Spirit of God led Jesus into a place of temptation or testing. This was not a place that you seek to be. It was a place where the Spirit of God leads you. Jesus even taught later that when praying we should say "Lead us NOT into the place of temptation". If there is a way to avoid this place, we are to pray to avoid it. But apparently there are some things that can ONLY be accomplished there.
But why Jesus? Why would the Son of God go to a place of temptation? What is the point of this? Perhaps for the life and death of Jesus to accomplish what was needed He had to live not only a sinless life but a fully human life, a fully tested life, a fully tempted life. Hebrew 4:15 states clearly that ". . . we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin."
Perhaps another reason for the temptation was that the "full humanity" of Jesus still needed to learn. Jesus had grown up learning the Torah and observing the Feasts. He had learned the opinions of the rabbis who interpreted the Law. He had learned the rich life of Jewish prayer. He had learned a life that honored His earthly mother and father. Now Jesus needed to learn the direction of His ministry and how to clearly discern the voice of God.
This learning process is an example to us. We are privileged through the revelation of Scripture to hear the unique conversations of the tempting, testing and response that took place in the desert. It may well be something that Jesus talked with the disciples about. The temptation of Jesus is a learning tool that shows us His response in discerning God's voice amid the various voices in life. If we really want to get to know Jesus, we will get to know Him as a human who sought to hear clearly. We also will get to know Him as "God made flesh" discerning His own power and destiny. If we really want to learn how to live the life God has for us we will learn all we can from these conversations.
And how do we walk out this Scripture? The place of temptation is not for us unless we are led there. But we can seek God. We can draw near to Him and discover that He will draw near to us. We can also learn from the temptation of Jesus the ways in which we might be drawn off course by the Enemy.
Father, I give thanks to You for Jesus. I am grateful for His example to me. I am grateful for His careful pursuit of Your plan to redeem me from sin. Help me to discern the path for my life. Show me how I can more carefully listen for Your voice. Lead me not into temptation. In Jesus' name.