In Luke 4:1–13 Jesus passes earthly testing by the devil, and ministry rejection by hometown people, before he entered the ministry of the kingdom of good news.
Testing people who minister for God is God’s way of preparing them to minister. He wants to give them experiences in relying on Scripture and experiencing the power of his Spirit rather than on human qualification, methods, and abilities.
Prophet Isaiah foretold of the suffering servant, the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishments that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds we are healed (Is 53:5).
Although Jesus is the Son of God, he was not exempt from being tested. To accomplish God’s plan, Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River and anointed by the Holy Spirit. Then the Spirit led him into the wilderness, where for 40 days, the devil tempted him.
The pattern Satan used for the test draws on three significant areas of human life: physical nourishment, prosperity or possessions, and power. The devil said to him, ‘if you are the son of God turn this stone to bread.’ Jesus answered him, ‘it is written, one does not live by bread alone.’
Satan began with Jesus’ hunger and went on to raise doubt as to his divine Sonship. Jesus had just heard a voice from heaven calling him ‘Son.’ Satan suggests that he verify his Sonship by turning a stone into bread.
The problem for Jesus was to know whether the voice he now heard came from the same source as the heavenly voice. Jesus’ answers came from the word of God not from his own human knowledge and abilities.
So, what does not agree with the scripture does not come from God. The essence of the temptation may have been to use miraculous power to supply bread for his own personal needs. Turning stones into bread wasn’t necessarily bad. The sin was not in the act but in the reason behind it.
As we are journeying through the season of Lent, we may feel the heat, stress and strain of the wilderness but let us be reminded, that the same Spirit that led Jesus into the wilderness, is the same Spirit leading us through our wilderness and this unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apostle Paul encourages the Christians of Ephesus that their battle is not against flesh and blood, but rulers and authorities of this dark world. To withstand their attacks, they must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of his amour. Put on the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ep 6:17).
We are facing trials and temptation day by day, but let us be encouraged by our Lord Jesus Christ, who demonstrates to us that the best weapon to encounter temptation, is the Word of God. One must not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God (Mt 4:4).
The Word of God and the Holy Spirit which strengthen Jesus through his tests in the wilderness, will be sufficient to feed and strengthen us as we journey through this season of Lent towards Easter.