Today’s Reading - Matthew 4:1-25
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, . . . - Matthew 4:1-2a
Interesting. Jesus makes his appearance to John, is baptized, and we learn from the other Gospels He was full of the Holy Spirit, overflowing with the presence of the Spirit. And this. First. Calling the disciples would be next. Healing the sick would soon come, But first He is led into the wilderness, the desert, to be tempted and to fast the entire forty days He was there. Matthew gives us insight not found anywhere else. Mark and Luke record the temptation happening while Jesus was there. Only Matthew records Jesus was led into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted. Interesting indeed. If indeed we live into the Emmanuel nature of Jesus, God with us, then we live into the understanding He was tempted and understands our temptations. I cannot know for certain we are ever led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted, but I am certain we are tempted and if Jesus was purposely tempted then He can identify with any temptation we might encounter. We know He was tempted in every way yet without sin. When we are tempted and seek the Lord to help us not fall into temptation, He knows just what we need and when we need it. It is important when we sense temptation to ask for God’s guidance to deal with the situation. I believe there is a connection between the intent of temptation and the fact Jesus was fasting and praying. A different level of spiritual intimacy is found when we fast and pray and there may be times when temptation or other circumstances warrant deeper intimacy with the Father. When temptation seems to seize you, or overwhelm you, it is time for a season of prayer and fasting. Or the spiritual discipline that leads you to the most intimate moments with God. We will be tempted. We will need to fast and pray. Your vessel needs to dig deep at times.
PrayerHeavenly Father, do not let us be overcome by temptation which if we succumb to is destructive to our relationship with You. Teach us to call on you when temptation comes our way. Teach us to enter into times of intimacy with You when life seems to overwhelm us whether it be temptation or the circumstances around us. Let us live with certainty that through Jesus whatever is before us is understood in the heavenlies. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.