Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4: 1 NKJV
WHY DID JESUS GO TO THE DESERT?
The entire premise of our Lenten practice is based upon Jesus going to the desert for 40 days following His baptism. Why? I don't know that this simple preachergirl has anything significant to add to this discussion but as we are walking with Jesus in this preparation, let me share what is mostly accepting by those who discuss such things.
First off, Jesus was led by the Spirit. It wasn't a whim of His own. Luke uses an even stronger verb that suggests that the Spirit "drove" Him there.
Going to the desert is the thing that prophets did. If you look at scriptures you will note Abram, Moses, Elijah, Elisha and others all spent significant time in the desert to get away from the masses and to be able to more clearly hear God.
Some suggest that it was a time of reflection and preparation, much like a final mission check before complete immersion in to His earthly ministry.
This time is the desert is after the first public "appearance" if you will, of Jesus as the Son of God. He has John's baptism of repentance, while He has nothing to repent for, does to show THE WAY FOR US.
I might suggest, that Christ, can be ONE with GOD and will face many demons in the midst of the public and the chaos of ministry, didn't need the desert any more that He needed repentance.
But yet He went, in obedience to the urging of the Spirit.
From my own life, I know that I love to be with people, but I long for time away. I love how my heart can sense God more closely and do that painful "circumcism" of my heart in the quiet alone with God and away from the craziness of life.
BUT I know that Satan will try to do anything - to get in the way of this happening. I think that is why there are so many distractions to keep us from being quiet before God. We need to desert. We need to turn off the outer voices to hear the inner voices.
BUT in the desert, now that we have turned off the outer distractions we still will hear three other voices.
SATAN NOW DIRECTLY SPEAKING TO US AND TEMPTING US
AND GOD DIRECTING OUR STEPS, IF WE WILL ALLOW IT!
In our time this week, I am going to look at each of the three temptations that Jesus faced and how we might face the same temptations and how we might respond as Christ did.
I want to close today by trying to answer that question of WHY THE DESERT....
In the hierarchy of the trinity, Jesus loved and longed for the Father and Jesus was obedient to the Spirit.
That alone would be enough,
Jesus was the WORD and walked on this earth to fulfill the word and the prophecies.
Jesus showed us what He had to endure through the word and MADE THE WAY for us.
Scriptures shows us time and again that we must also endure times of trial and suffering, those preachers on TV and others who bless, bless, bless do not get their earthly prosperity proclamations from the same scriptures that tell us to pick up our crosses and follow...
Yes we are rich with the JOY OF THE LORD, but we all go through actual and symbolic deserts at different times in our lives.
So What can we learn from Christ's time in the desert?
What can we expect as we are tempted?
We will learn more and more each day about the answers to these questions, but the key is....
GOD IS EVER WITH US -
And if you are willing to be in the desert, which - you likely wouldn't be reading this if you weren't.
YOU WILL EXPERIENCE THE DEVIL, yes you will, what did you expect?
Jesus did when He went to the desert and He is the Son of God,
BUT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE GOD IN INCREASINGLY POWERFUL WAYS....
you will experience you own weaknesses,
BUT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE GOD'S STRENGTHS BECAUSE OF THEM....
I NEED THE DESERT
A PRAYER -
Lord, I don't always know how the desert will appear, it comes sometimes because I seek it and I seek you and other times I am thrust into it, but LORD I CALL OUT TO YOU, COME, SPEAK TO ME AND HELP ME TO RESIST THE DEVIL and MY OWN HEART that can be so deceitful without You. Lord I am here wanting more of You and calling out as well for ___________ today. Help us all to see You more clearly and act in obedience to what you are asking us to do on this day. AMEN....