I can see Matthew’s contemplative response as he thinks back on his adventures with Jesus. This time he is relaying Jesus’ handling of temptation.
Jesus had to face temptation to be able to empathize with our plight as we come face to face with various temptations. Hebrews 2:18 confirms this. Jesus chose to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead into the desert for the sole purpose of being tempted by His enemy. Jesus was fasting during this time – 40 days and nights. Now you might think fasting would deplete Jesus’ strength to resist, but it was more likely one of the keys to His victory. He was headed into a spiritual battle and He prepared for it spiritually. Jesus faced real temptation and responded with real resistance. He sparred with the enemy of God who was still out to kill Him (Remember King Herod?), steal His loyalty to God, and destroy His credibility. The sword of the Spirit ( the Word of God ) was His tool of choice in winning these confrontations with evil. He knew how to use His weapon and it gained Him the victory.
It is inevitable that we will find ourselves face to face with temptation – more than once and in various intensities. My Jesus journey has assured me that Jesus understands my struggles and yours as well. He has gone through the same things. The Bible says, in Hebrews 4:15-16, that Jesus knows and expects me and you to run to Him for help. He will shower us with grace and mercy and see us through any and all temptations when we follow His example.
Jesus set the physical example for our spiritual battles…fast, reach out to God, and use His Word for gaining the victory. Even though the battle was intense, the devil was not able to shake Jesus’ confidence in who He was, what He was capable of doing, nor shake His loyalty to His Father, God. Temptations are the enemy’s tools to shake our confidence in whose we are (God’s) , who we are (kingdom heirs), and the purpose to which we are called (love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind and your neighbor as yourself – Matthew 22:37-40 ) . I encourage you to stand your ground. Use the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Fast. Fight a spiritual battle with spiritual preparations and efforts. Jesus won the victory. Let your confidence soar because He desires to make us winners, too. He has been “there”, done “that”, and has come out victorious and without sin. He has prepared the way for you and me to prevail when we come face to face with temptation. What a God we serve!
Be sure to come back next post to read what I learned from Jesus as He taught the multitudes about Kingdom living. I think you’ll be challenged and inspired.