2 For 40 days, the Spirit led Him from place to place in the desert, and while there, the devil tempted Jesus. Jesus was fasting, eating nothing during this time, and at the end, He was terribly hungry. 3 At that point, the devil came to Him.
Jesus was tempted just as we are. At the point where He was hungry, tired and probably ready for a hot bath Luke tells us He was tempted to make life easier for Himself. First by turning stones into bread. Soon He would be multiplying bread, turning water into wine so why not turn the rock by His foot into a loaf and ease the hunger He was feeling? Because God said…
I can resist everything except temptation.
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere’s Fan
Jesus was tempted just as we are but unlike us, He didn’t give in. He continued to resist. There was no sin in being tempted, no wrong in having the thoughts to do something. Sin comes when we entertain the thoughts and do the act. Jesus’ response was perfect and the example we should follow when temptation comes. He relied on God’s Word to speak Truth. He relied on God’s Word to answer. He didn’t get into an argument or discussion that might have led to compromise or confusion. He stated what God had said and left it at that.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand reaches down and holds me up.
David knew about relying on God. Psalm 63 was also written in the wilderness and David pours out his longing and desire for God who is all he needs. If we learn to long for God as David did, as Jesus did so that God is the answer and solution to all our needs then we will be able to resist temptation. We will be able to recognise that the rewards of temptation have no long-term value to us.
In Numbers 31 the Israelites were told to eradicate all the Midianites. They were rebuked for keeping the women and children alive. They did as God commanded and we have to do the same. Paul says we don’t battle against flesh and blood but we have to apply that same ruthlessness to spiritual things. When we are tempted we must be merciless in turning away from the temptation. We have to be deliberate in removing things that cause us to sin and desperate in relying on God to sustain and keep us close to Him.
My pastor preached about the Narrow Way recently. It’s also come up in other places and we are called to walk in it. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden light, but they are still a yoke and burden. It takes work for us to walk as God wants us to. It’s hard to resist our favourite temptation. I am sure Jesus was longing for something to eat and the thought of avoiding the Cross must have been a real lure. Jesus stuck to what was written. If it was the best way for the Son of God then it’s the best way for me and you.