Scripture tells us that after his baptism, Jesus was led out into the wilderness for forty days where he was tempted by Satan. This is the story we are looking at today. I chose the version of this story from Luke 4:1-14, NIV (New International Version).
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. –
- — Luke 4:1-13 NIV (New International Version)
- Access: from Bible Gateway.com
We all find ourselves in a spiritual wilderness at times when we are forced to answer the hard questions. Do we trust God to provide for us? Do we worship the gods of this world, money and power or do we worship God? Do we sometimes test God because we do not trust his provision?
I must confess that I do not always pass these tests when presented to me in my life. I worry about lack, not having enough to survive. I sometimes find myself starting to get sucked into the worldly quest for money and power.
That is why it is so important for us to read the Gospels. To once again hear the words of Jesus because we all know that as in this story, and in our lives today, temptation doesn’t go away because we resist it once. It will wait “until an opportune time” and try again.
So as we look at the life and words of Jesus who came to be the great example not the great exception we are each called to turn within and ask ourselves those hard questions. Who or what do I trust? Who or what do I serve? God? Or the wealth, power or political, social and religious leaders of this world?
Question to Ponder
In what ways are you tempted by wealth and power?