Matthew 4:1, ‘Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.’
On Sunday we looked at the temptation of Jesus, probably better referred to as the testing of Jesus. Jesus is led into the uncomfortable, dangerous desert after his Baptism. Jesus is baptise, the Holy Spirit descends on him, his father speaks of his love and delight in him – his ministry is about to start, but he is taken by the Spirit into the desert. He isn’t taken to a place of comfort, he isn’t prevented from suffering, he isn’t taken into the central city and declared the Son of God – he is taken to a desert.
He is led by the Spirit into the desert, he is taken out of the desert in power by the Spirit. The Spirit is his constant companion – working in him and with him to enable him to meet the demands that will be placed on him. The devil isn’t in control, God is!
We will all have desert experiences – your desert might be financial concerns, it might be a sickness, it might be getting old, it might be worrying about children, it might be relationships that are teetering, it might be worry about your children. Whatever your desert might be, you are not alone. The Bible never says that we won’t have trouble. It says the opposite – but it says we are never alone, and that Jesus has overcome – he is the victor, he is the mighty warrior that has conquered the devil.
His testing in the desert proves it – in everything that the devil did to get between Jesus and the will of his Father, he failed.
The lessons for us in this are that we must keep on trusting God – recognise that in the desert times, you may feel distant from God, but at the same time, draw closest to him. Are you seeking the company of the Holy Spirit? Are you trusting in him to hold you, teach, guide and lead you? Are you submitting to him? Are you reading your Bible, allowing God to speak to you? Are you spending time in prayer with God – are building your relationship with the Spirit so that his work in you can be seen by others?
Dont give up – recognise you desert times as growth times – trust in God – lean on him and allow him to carry you through.