Devotional Reading: Luke 4:1-13
Text: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan (His baptism) and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness … (vs. 1)
I have always found it fascinating that Jesus was led into the wilderness of temptation by the same Spirit that descended upon Him at His baptism. My wife once pointed out to me that we are never tempted by those things that we do not desire. The temptations of Jesus are somewhat universal; satisfaction, fame, power.
There is a fine line distinction between temptation and testing, though we often translate and use them interchangeably. As with everything in life, context is important.
Temptation’s intention is to make someone succumb. Testing’s intention is to clarify. A more accurate understanding of Jesus’ experience would be that of testing. His wilderness experience clarified His ministry and purpose. It reaffirmed Mary’s “Magnificat” found earlier in this gospel. Jesus’ Kingdom was not going to be like the world’s kingdoms. His was based on agape Love; a love that respects the other, cares for the other even at our own expense, and sees in the other the face of God.
An old country and western song says that if you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything. Jesus knew what He stood for. He challenged those who would take Him seriously to stand with Him.
Lord, give me clarity of purpose and the will to follow in the Way of Jesus. Amen.