"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, 'If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.' But he answered, 'It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Matthew 4:1-4 (ESV)
I love this passage of Scripture! Everyone loves a story about overcoming great odds. Here, the implications are huge for us and for the world.
In today’s passage, Jesus overcomes the flesh, the world, and the devil in one fell swoop. He does, in 40 days in the wilderness, what the people of Israel could not do in 40 years. He truly is God’s Son!
This passage provides such a rich picture. As I meditate on it, I begin to see myself and others in its light. Too often my flesh draws me away from God. Too often I am seduced into the temptations of the world and the devil. As I walk through the wilderness with our Alaska Native brothers and sisters, I see they, too, are hungry and lost in the wilderness of their lives. Our appetites deceive us, and we try to find satisfaction, fulfillment, and salvation in things that can never save. Just like the nation of Israel, we cannot overcome or find the victory over our flesh, over the world, nor over Satan on our own.
However, in Jesus—in His Gospel—we see Him overcome all these things in our place. Then, He walks the road of our brokenness and our wilderness and takes it all to the cross, dying for your sins and mine. In Him, and by faith in His life, death, and resurrection, we find life and overcome.
Jesus, we are so thankful for your Word, your life and your great love for us. Thank you that, in our brokenness from sin, you became our victor. In your name, we pray, Amen.