Lenten Reflection 2012: Retreating into the wilderness with Jesus, Day 17.

Temptation of Jesus in desert. HOLE, WILLIAM: ...

Jesus in the wilderness

Day 17, Monday, March 12, 2012

 Matthew 4:1-4 tells us that Jesus was hungry and Satan made it a point of temptation by asking Him to make bread out of stones. Satan fully knew that Jesus was the Son of God and yet he wanted Jesus to doubt His identity in the face of hunger. For the Son of God, there was nothing wrong in being hungry and even with turning the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger. However, Jesus refused to obey Satan because He was on a mission. Jesus knew that He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit and that it was the will of His father for Him to go hungry at this time. Jesus was fasting and praying for a spiritual work that was according to the will of His heavenly Father and Jesus had learned to do nothing outside the will of His Father. The very discipline of fasting is for the purpose of taking one’s eyes and dependency off the material necessities and to focus on God, His purpose of sending Jesus on earth, and how that would be fulfilled in the coming days as Jesus obeyed Him. Thus, any acceptance of Satan’s suggestion would have taken Jesus’ eyes off God and if He had done what Satan wanted Him to do, Jesus would have done the will of the devil instead of continuing in the perfect will of His Father.

 Jesus also didn’t fall for the temptation to prove his divinity because by His refusal to obey him, He wanted to tell the devil and thereby to all of us that to remain hungry is better than to be fed by the bread outside the will of God for our lives. The essence of being divine or, for that matter, the essence of anyone being a follower of Christ is our obedience to the Father by doing His will and not to prove who we are. Our identity is found in doing the will of God rather than in seeking or performing miracles.

 You and I may be in a place of hunger today, which means a place of need and lacking the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter and clothing for our family. It’s in such points of need that Satan’s temptations become severe in our lives. We may even feel justified by fulfilling those pressing needs by any means for the sake of our family. The temptation may come in any form and at times may not even seem like a temptation at all. However, in such a situation, we need to remind ourselves that perhaps we’re in the wilderness and in privation under the will of God who has led us into this situation. He may have a better purpose for leading us through all this. Like Jesus, may we continue to seek to be in the will of God and choose to go hungry rather than feed upon the goodies that are independent of the will of God? Amen!

Related articles