Desert Days

Luke 4: 1 – 2

And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led about by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days; and when they had ended, He became hungry.

I want you to notice a few words in this passage, those being, “being tempted by the devil.” You see, right after this verse begins the telling of the three temptations with which we are all familiar. Has anyone else missed this part though, that he was tempted for 40 days before those famous three temptations? It certainly had eluded me.

Here is another question for you. How did the devil tempt him? Jesus wandered around in the desert, presumptively alone, for 40 days not eating. As if that was not enough, apparently the devil was pestering him the whole time too. Do you think the devil appeared to him? Did he just whisper in Jesus’ ear? We know next to nothing about this forty day period.

I also find it interesting that he wandered around in the desert for forty days being led by the Holy Spirit. That is very reminiscent of the forty years the Israelites roamed around in the desert though they were led by God. Were they also tempted in the desert for those forty years like Jesus was for the forty days he was in the desert? Jesus never failed, he never gave into the temptations. He made it to the promised land without succumbing to the devil’s machinations. It is as if he put to right the disastrous journey of the Israelite nation by making his forty day sojourn.

Whatever the devil dishes out, there has always been the power available to overcome him. The Israelites had God with them. He was in the cloud by day and the pillar by night. Somehow, though, they were unable to connect with the power which accompanied them day and night. Jesus showed that people can overcome the temptations of the devil. He connected with the power which accompanied him, namely, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave him company so that he was never really alone and he empowered Jesus with everything he need to succeed.

All the Israelites had and all that Jesus had is with us today too. We can access the power of the trinity at all times because they are always with us. We no longer need wander around in the desert lost, alone and afraid. We have a redeemer and a comforter. We have an overcomer. They have led us to the oasis. Hallelujah.