A response to Then Came Jesus by Lara Williams :: Week 3, Day 1
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:21-23 NKJV, emphasis mine)
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. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ” Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:1-11 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Did you catch that? The sections that are emphasized? “You are my beloved Son; in You I am well pleased,” yet followed by, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” God loved His Son but God (in the form of the Spirit) still led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted.
If this is the first time you are noticing this curious chain of events, you are not alone. I too stopped to ponder this as I read Then Came Jesus yesterday morning. I wondered, why would God do this? And, if He is willing to send Jesus to the wilderness, will He send me there as well, whether a figurative or literal wilderness?
Romans 5:3-5 tells us that tribulation (I’d call being in the wilderness a tribulation) “produce perserverance; and perserverance, character; and character, hope” and that “hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.”
Wait. The same Spirit that leads us into the wilderness pours out God’s love onto us?
Yes, we face times of tribulation and periods in the wilderness because God want to draw us closer to Him. On our own we are weak, but most times we don’t want to admit it. We think we are strong. We think we are smart. We think we are able to handle all the struggles that come our way. But it’s in these struggles that God reveal to us our weaknesses and we are given the opportunity to rely on Him. And the more we rely on Him the more we trust Him and believe that He wants what is best for us.
Still nervouse about tribulations and wilderness?
I understand. Me too! So let me remind you of a little something that God has given us to guide us through these times.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV)
To some it all up, we have the Word of God to guide us. In it we find truth, the definitions of real righteousness, the gospel of peace, and an understanding of faith. And above all it is our weapon against the enemies of darkness.
Did you notice that each time Jesus responded to the devil He used the words, “It is written”? Even when the devil tried to twist the word of God to fit his agenda, God’s word could not be shaken. Jesus, because he had the word hidden in His heart, could not be shaken and the devil departed.
We too have access to the same words that Jesus spoke of when He affirmed “It is written!”
The word of God is our sword, it is our weapon against all enemies. It will protect us and deter those that would see to have us wounded. But just like a skilled swordsman, we must know our weapon. We must use it daily. We must read it and learn it and hide it in our hearts.
Knowing our Bible prepares us for the wilderness. It prepares us for tribulations. And it prepares us for battle.
Lord, as much as I don’t like to be in the wilderness, thank You for using those times to draw me closer to You. When tempation and tribulations come, thank You for giving me Your word — a sword that strikes down my darkest enemies. I ask that You speak to me daily, reminding me to make time in Your word a priority. As I read Your word please help me to understand and remember the truths that I find there. Prepare me, Lord, to stand strong and in Your power. This I ask in Your name. Amen.
Are you reading Then Came Jesus or another advent study? What is God revealing to you? Please let me know by leaving a comment. You can also find out more about Lara Williams and her book Then Came Jesus here.