Jesus, being full of Holy Spirit, returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Later on, He went to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. Jesus was in the initial stage of His ministry. So, instead of leading Him to the synagogues or temples or to the needy people, the Spirit led Him to the wilderness. If we see the lives of people who are called by God, we note that they all went through some wilderness before getting into the real mission. Lives of Mosses, David, Paul and various others are a witness of this fact. When a Father teaches his son to ride a bicycle, he knows the possible dangers. That’s why, his hands supports the cycle from behind. This is how God teaches us also. The Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan, but He came out in the power of the Spirit. If the Spirit is leading us, we need not worry even though there’s a valley of shadow of death, because His hands are with us and hence, we will never fail. No father would like to see his child in the same stage. He wants his children to grow. In the same way, God builds our character through various trials and leads us in the wilderness. If God has called you, He will never put you on the mission right a way, but will take you through wilderness to the mission field. He is very much able to put you right away where He desires to, but we need time to be prepared. It is not important as to where we are led to, but it is very important as to who is leading us. The Spirit might lead us to places filled with wickedness, like Nineveh. But let’s not look unto the place. Rather, let’s look unto Him who is leading us. Jonah was a powerful prophet, but he failed to recognize the one who was leading him. So he tried to flee to Tarshish. Life is tough in the wilderness and when you are tested, it becomes all the more difficult. This is impossible for a mere man, but a person full of Holy Spirit will survive like a tree planted by the river. He will produce more fruits because the root is connected to the river. If our spirit is fully rooted in the Spirit of God, we will be fruitful in the wilderness. In Wilderness, there is no one to help, but God is the present help who will feed us from time to time with fresh manna and living water. Jesus was fasting for 40 days and when they had ended, He was hungry and Satan came to tempt Him. God does not tempt anybody, but He tests everyone. He tests us for our profit. Satan does not have many weapons to tempt, as many of us think. Luke 4:13 says, ‘and when devil had ended all the temptation’…This proves that he has limited weapons to come against you. Jesus did not quit, but devil had to quit. We also can do the same through the power of the Holy Spirit. We must resist the devil by submitting ourselves to God. Amen. Now let us see how Satan tempted Jesus. Satan came to Jesus in three ways:
• Brought stone to be made to bread
• Showed all the kingdom of this world and its glory
• Quoted the word of God
This is how devil and his minions work together against all children of God. He will bring something that looks profitable and essential. He will show us the riches and glory of this world, but will never show us the hidden agenda behind it. Since he is the father of lies, he cannot not quote the word of God in completeness. Rather, he will speak half truth. This is exactly how he came to Eve. He lied to her that she lacked something in her life (The devil said, “You will be like God”) to fill the incompleteness. She looked and wanted to receive from the tree. Devil quoted half truth by convincing Eve that she would not die. Yes, that was a truth that she would not die physically but spiritually she did die. Now let us see together as to what the agenda of Satan was in tempting Jesus. What was his plan through these three ways?
• To cause doubt in the relationship/ fellowship between Him and Father
• To deceive Him in the worship
• To deceive Him in the knowledge of God
Bringing doubt in the relationship – Doubt is a scissor that cuts the cords that are united. Any relationship will break if the seeds of doubt are sowed. Satan was not taking care of Jesus by bringing a stone Him to be transformed into bread for Him to eat. He wanted Jesus to doubt His Father. That’s why; he challenged Jesus to prove that He is the Son of God by transforming the stone into bread. A few days before, when Jesus was in Jordan, the heavens had opened and a voice had confirmed that Jesus is the beloved Son of God. So it was not necessary to turn the stone into bread to prove His Sonship. Later on, the devil asked the same question through some Pharisees and scribes. They asked Jesus to bring down fire from heaven. Yet some others asked him to come down from the cross to prove that He was the Son of God. But Jesus never proved His Sonship through provocation. Instead, He showed His majesty by being lead by the Spirit. Father and Son are not two, but are ONE. Jesus did not fellowship with the Father once a while. He was with Him always. That’s why the devil did not have any chance to sow seed of doubt between them. As a branch abides in the vine, we need to abide completely in our God and have full assurance about our relationship with God. As a belt is latched around the waist, likewise we must be latched on Him. Though all the twelve disciples were with Jesus, none of them believed in the resurrection of Jesus. That’s why Jesus revealed himself to them, even to the doubting Thomas. To believe one person, we need to spend most of our time with that person. That’s why Jesus spent all His time with His Father and not His disciples. Let us abide in Him and not doubt Him (Jn. 15) 2)
Deceiving in worship – Always remember, that God is worthy to be worshipped and Devil is greedy to be worshipped. That’s why he took Jesus to the top of the mountain and showed Him all the kingdom of this world and its glory. He then asked Jesus to bow down and worship Him. One must understand that the entire kingdom and glory of this world is delivered to Satan, since the fall of man, before which it was given to man. So it is neither man nor Satan who is worthy to be worshipped, but God alone because He is the creator of man and Lucifer, who later turned into Satan. I know that none of us who are reading this post wants to worship Satan…Then how can devil deceive us in worship? Jesus said “You cannot serve God and money together”. World is controlled by money, and Satan is the ruler of this world. So if money is all what you want, then you are serving the ruler of this world. Money must be under our feet and not above our head. Though some of us seem to be worshipping God, they have been deceived by the devil, by bringing money, fame, riches of this world, lust etc. in front of their eyes. So they serve some other god who is the figment of their own imagination. David says in psalms “I have set the Lord always before me”. This is true worship. Setting God in front of everything and everyone. If you set money, you will serve money. Jesus replied “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve”. Devil’s second strategy is to deceive you in the worship. Who is our God? And whom do we worship and serve?
Deceiving in the knowledge about God – Jesus came to declare Father unto us, but devil does not want us to receive this knowledge. It’s because this knowledge about God will set us free from lies and bondage of lies. So, the devil took Jesus to the top of the temple and asked him to jump down. To justify this, the devil even quoted a verse from psalms 91, ‘that God will charge His angels to hold you’. But Jesus had full knowledge about His Father. So He replied “It is written ‘ Do not tempt your God’ because God does not hold those who fall voluntarily, but those who fall involuntarily. In other words, He does not hold those who jump. But He holds those who fall. Amen. Apostle Paul, in his letter to Ephesus, prayed that their eyes of understanding should enlighten and receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. If our knowledge about Christ is not increasing, then we will be beguiled by the serpent in our minds about the simplicity in Christ. One of the prayers of Paul included “Let us increase in the knowledge of God”
If we are firm and rooted in these three areas 1) fellowship/relationship with God 2) worship to God and 3) In Knowing God, then Satan will try all his temptation and flee but at the end of the day, we will come out in the power of Spirit.