Bible Study Lesson:
Q. Why did Holy spirit lead Jesus into the Wilderness? What does Wilderness Experience bring forth? How to Approach it?
Three Temptations of Jesus:
- Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness (desert) to be tempted by the devil! He was full of Holy Spirit, when he went to the wilderness. (Luke 4:1)
- Greek word for tempted can also mean tested.
- Holy spirit led Jesus into the wilderness tot be tested, tempted and to be humbled. (Deut 8:2-3: “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.“)
- It is quite interesting to draw comparisons between Jesus in the wilderness and the Israelite in the wilderness after God’s miraculous rescue from Egypt.
- In both the cases, they had just experienced God’s power and favor. Jesus experienced God’s favor at his baptism. And the Israelites had just saw the most powerful manifestation of God’s power at work at Red Sea. Next, they found themselves wandering and starving in the wilderness. (Jesus for Forty days, and Israelite for 40 years!)
- However, there is a stark contract in Isralite’s and Jesus’ response towards the wilderness. First thing, Isralites asked Moses and Aaron when they were in the wilderness, was “What should we eat? Did the Lord bring us out of Egypt to starve and die? (Ex 16:3), they again grumbled about water, “give us water to drink.” (Ex 17:2).
- Jesus on the other hand, fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Fasting is the most effective way of passing through the wilderness. Fasting helps to focus on the spiritual matters and takes our attention from matters related to flesh. So, even though Jesus was physically weak, he was spiritually strong.
- We all go through wilderness experiences in our Christian walk. It can be very exhausting and draining. It deprives us of all the comforts that we may usually enjoy. It tests the deepest secrets and convictions of our heart to test what lies in our heart. We may have just gone through the greatest highs of our walk with God. Next, we find ourselves in the spiritual turmoil or wilderness. During these times of testing, we need to put our complete trust in the Lord.
- It seems that Satan had quite faulty logic! The first two temptations of Jesus were about proving Jesus being the ‘Son of God’.
- “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”.
- “If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down…”
- Son of God does not need bread to live on or need to worry about injury!
- Satan insisted on proofs about Jesus’ divinity, but Jesus reminded him of his humanity.
- Jesus had experienced God’s voice at his baptism. “This is my Son, whom I love, with him, I am well pleased. (Mat 3:17) The Devil came and first attacked this very claim. He tried to create doubts about God’s voice.
- All of Jesus’ answers started with “It is Written”! He may be saying, that “God’s word is final, and I do not need to test it or prove it.”
- We are often confronted with similar situations. And Devil comes and whispers in our ears, he creates doubts about God’s promises - “Does he really care about you? Is he really listening to your prayers?” We need to remember that ‘It is written’, God has promised us and his Words are final and sufficient.
Q. How did Jesus answer to Satan’s temptations?
- “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
- Jesus referred to Deut 8:2-3. Jesus pointed out that life is not just about the physical needs, there is more to it. The word of God is life-giving. And we can build and live our life on His Words.
- We have bother physical and spiritual needs. And only God can satisfy our spiritual hunger.
- What is the source of your life? What is the place of God’s Word in your life? Is it just one of the things that you do or read or is it the source of your life?
- Second time, Satan came up with even better idea.
- He took Jesus to the Holy city, Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. Satan asked Jesus to throw himself down. If the Angels protected him from being striking against stones, now not only him (Devil), but all people in the temple will also be convinced that He is the Son of God. (Great plan, isn’t it!)
- The Devil, this time, used the word of God to prove his point.
- The Devil knows the Word of God, he can use it, twist it, misinterpret it and present it in such a way which is contrary to the will of God.
- Today, we see many people being fallen away by misinterpretation of the Word of God. The key aspect of Satan’s argument was and is the use of the word of God out of context.
- The second temptation at its core, is about testing God and testing His Words.
- Rightly so, Jesus reminded Satan, that “It is also written, do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
- The final temptation brought the innermost desire of Satan, “to become God”. He wants to be worshiped as God. He burns with the desire of being like God. And He offers the biggest lie to all who follows him, that they can be also God. (Gen 3:4)
- How often have we seen Rulers, Kings or Emperors of the mighty kingdoms at their peak, want to be worshiped as ‘God’! Unfortunately, it can only lead to self-destruction.
- Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the World and their splendor. In those days, Roman Empire rules the majority of known world. Their power and glory were uncomparable. But it fell eventually and now we see nothing but the ruins.
- Jesus however, promises ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (Mat 4:17), he does not offer temporary kingdom but Eternal Kingdom.
- The Devil’s proposal was a direct breaking of the first commandment. “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them..” (Exodus 20:3-4)
- Jesus in his reply, quoted the first commandment. (By this time, Jesus would have said, “enough, you are crossing the line!”)
- He commanded Satan to go away. and Satan immediately left him!
In all three answers, Jesus insisted on the ‘written’ word of God. Today, we have so much resources available related to the ‘Word of God’, that sometimes we are distracted from ‘the Word’. One of the main objective of this Bible Study lessons website is to bring ‘Back to the Bible’ approach to inspire individuals for personal and small groups for rich bible study experience.
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