Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Matthew 4:1-2
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Jesus was sent into humanity, took on the form of humanity so that he can identify with humanity and represent humanity. Can Jesus really understand what we go through? Jesus became one of us. He is the Son of God – we see Jesus became one of us. Would the Alpha pass a Beta Test?
When do temptations come, when do tests hit us? For Jesus, the temptations came after His grand introduction, it happened before Jesus commenced His messianic mission and moved on His kingdom assignment. The temptations came before He was launched into a public ministry, temptations hit Him one after another. The tests come after and before. If you are prepared and ready, if and when it comes, you are not caught off guard.
Was Led by the Spirit
We love this line “As the Spirit leads”, but there is a faulty and dangerous theology that says “if God leads you, everything will be smooth and ok.” It is faulty and dangerous because if the reverse happens, when challenges come and experience a time of dryness then you will be thrown off.
Do all that you need to do to confirm and to know for sure that the Lord is leading you, that the Spirit is directing you. As He speaks to you, write it down, journal it down because when the going gets tough, you have to hold to the word of God and what He said to you.
Sometimes God leads us to a place we do not really want to go. Will we follow or obey even if it is something we do not like?
Immediately after the baptism, the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness (Mark 1:12).
To be led by the Spirit really means, whatever He says to us, we must go, we must do. It is obedience. If He leads you, He will be there for you. That is a promise of Emmanuel, that He will be with us and He will never forsake us. He knows we need Him for sustenance and strength. Get strong in the Spirit, stop looking in the things through a fleshly lens. Do not rely on the physical and the material, because that is not going to get you through that season. When the Spirit leads you in that regard, it usually also involves times of fasting to hear more clearly, and the spirit man becomes strengthened.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God (Romans 8:14).
When we believe in Jesus, we have been adopted into the Father’s family, we are all sons and daughters. God is wanting to raise matured sons and daughters and it is those who are led by the Spirit who can hear and identify the voice of the Father, as well as the voice of Jesus, the Master. These who are being led by the Spirit are the true sons and daughters.
Into the Wilderness
God has many ways to lead us, His ways are higher than our ways but one of His ways is the way of the wilderness ( Exodus 13:17-18).
Wilderness is a place of dryness, sparseness, nothingness, a time of aloneness. God has a way of leading us into a time of seeming dryness. God leads the children of Israel by the way of the wilderness. In Deuteronomy 8 when Moses recalls and recounts the experience of 40 years. You begin to see the reasons why God brings them through the wilderness. Wilderness is a place of wandering and wondering. It is a time of waiting, training on how to wait to God. It is a place of wars, there will be battles to be fought. It is a place of wonders and miracles, protection and provision. If you find yourself in a time of wilderness, you’re in a good place. Do not rush through, allow God to deal with you and to have His way and to train you. In the wilderness, it will reveal who or what we truly believe in and what or who we rely on.
Jesus represented the new Israel. He is the second Israel. Just as Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness, Jesus will spend 40 days to represent that experience of Israel. In software Language, Jesus will be Israel 2.0. That is why Israel 2.0 needs to go through a Beta Test. Does He really understand what the people through?
To Be Tempted
He is there to be tempted. There is a specific reason for Him being in the wilderness. Temptation in English used in 3 interchangeable words: Temptation, Trial and Test.
Temptation in Greek words:
1. Peirazo – To test with a view towards distractions; to show the weak points; to reject
2. Dokimazo – To test with the view of strengthening; to determine genuineness, usually by fire; to approve or to improve.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone (James 1:13).
God does not tempt anyone; God will not tempt to pull you down, but He will allow the temptation so that on the flip side He can pull you up.
Jesus as the second Adam; Adam 2.0, where Adam and Eve, in the abundance of the garden, they fail. Jesus passed when he was tested, tempted in the barrenness of the wilderness.
By the Devil
You have got to know your enemy. He comes as everything you have ever wished for and the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he does not exist. Jesus described the Devil from the English word Diabolos which means accuser, slanderer, twister of words either to pull you down or to pop you up; tear you down, to accuse you, to slander you or to flatter you. Either way whichever works for him or for you.
How did Jesus pass the test? He knew His assignment. He is aligned with His Father’s will, word, that would determine the way. He did not succumb to fleshly desires; prepare and posture appropriately. He did not abuse His position and power (Luke 4:13).
Our Savior, our Master and our King was tempted at all points as we are, but He overcame and He’s victorious.
Alpha Testing is internal; it is easy to hide behind churchy talk and doctrines. We know our identity in Christ, but externally, how do we fare when taken and sent out, tested under real-world conditions? When we get out there into our areas of operation, how do we fare? Temptations and tests are very much a part of our walk with God and in this world that we live in. Especially so when we are going to be on assignment with and for Jesus. For us, we can rest on the assurance that Jesus has already defeated the enemy, and He also showed us how to overcome these temptations. How to overcome these distractions or things that come against us. Jesus’ focus is to serve the Father’s will. Jesus relied on the power of the Holy Spirit and stayed true to His assignment. So, every time you have come into a situation or decision, you have a decision to make. How would you approach that? Would you yield to a temptation or would you pass a test? Would you allow the enemy to distract you and derail you or you will say, “no, I will rely on the faithfulness of God who will take me through this? I may not do this totally well, but as I do this to the glory of God, He will guide me and He will take me through this.
Jesus was Israel 2.0, Jesus is Adam 2.0, Jesus, as the Messiah is also David 2.0. And this David in Jesus, completed His assignment. He is cheering us on to fulfil ours. He is the King that we are serving and it is His kingdom that we are part of. Let’s serve Him with our whole heart and determine not to be distracted by the enemy or by anyone else.