Jesus is Tested in the Wilderness
Soon after Jesus was baptized, he was led by the Spirit to the wilderness where he spent forty days and nights fasting. Jesus was hungry and then came the tempter and started off by asking Jesus to turn the stones into bread if he was the Son of God.
The tempter tempts at the weakest point and tries to manipulate Jesus. The tempter also knows what our weakness is and uses it to tempt us. When Jesus was hungry, he tried to tempt him with food but Jesus, determined to do the Father’s will, responded back with what our breads should be.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Matthew 4:4
When we focus on God, trials and temptations will come, but we need to stay strong in the Word of God. This does not mean we have to remember every verse, which is not possible but we have the Holy Spirit in whom we can rely for overcoming our temptations.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13
Often times we would have thought that Jesus was God and it wouldn’t be difficult for him to overcome temptations but the reason why Jesus went through temptations was for us to know that Jesus came into this world in the form of a man and faced everything that any human would, yet he remained sinless and can help us when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:18).
Next, the tempter takes Jesus to the highest point of the temple and quotes a verse, asking Jesus to throw himself down, saying that the angels will lift him up lest his foot strike against a stone. Jesus replied back saying,
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”Matthew 4:7
The tempter tried to tempt Jesus with power and pride, that the angels are at his disposal and that he could use his power to summon them but Jesus defended quite calmly. Power and pride are something that most of us like and would be happy to live with it but God doesn’t like pride (James 4:6).
Twice while tempting, the tempter says, “If you are the Son of God”, why does he say that? Is it possible that he actually didn’t know who Jesus was and was trying to figure out, or as usual, he was trying to manipulate Jesus into doubting if he actually was the Son of God or not, or perhaps, he was just mocking him.
The tempter is quite persistent, he doesn’t leave, he tries again. This time he asks Jesus to bow down before him and worship him and then he would give everything to Jesus. The tempter tried to tempt Jesus with wealth.
In this world, wealth is important to us and resisting a temptation like this seems difficult but to overcome this, if we focus on God alone, whatever we need will be provided to us. Jesus replies to the tempter saying, worship the Lord your God and serve him only. If we also serve only God, wealth cannot tempt us, as the scripture in Matthew 6:24 says, you can only serve one master, either God or wealth.
Then the devil left Jesus and the angels attended him. In another instance, just before Jesus was going to get arrested, he went out to pray and prayed for the cup to be removed, yet not his will but the will of the Father be done. Jesus just like us was going through every torment and pain and there also an angel came and attended to him and strengthened him (Luke 22:42-43).
When we are troubled if we try to cling on to God, God will give us his strength and strengthen us. If Jesus had given in to the temptations, the very purpose of him coming to the earth would not have been fulfilled. Similarly, each one of us is placed on this earth with a purpose to extend the kingdom of God and every time we fail, we fall back on our purpose. We should realize that despite all the temptations of the deceiver, our God will help us through it all.
Jesus Begins to Preach
Jesus started his ministry after overcoming the temptations victoriously. Jesus heard of John the Baptist’s arrest and withdrew to Galilee, perhaps his time had not yet come and if he was found, he would also have been imprisoned. He moved from Nazareth to Capernaum and a prophesy about the ‘Light’ was fulfilled. The people living in darkness in that area saw Jesus, the Light.
From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”Matthew 4:17
Jesus Calls His First Disciples
Walking beside the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and asked them to follow him and at once they left everything that they were doing and followed him. In a similar manner, Jesus called James and John, the sons of Zebedee and they too immediately left everything that they were doing and their father also, and followed him.
We all are called to follow him, are we that spontaneous to follow him like the first four disciples or do we keep this in the back burner that when we turn old, we’ll follow him.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9
Jesus Heals the Sick
Jesus was ministering throughout Galilee, where he was teaching in the synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing the sick. He became quite popular as the news about him spread all over Syria but people mostly came to him for healing.
This trend is still visible even after so many years, we come to Jesus only when we need something or for our outward healing but fail to recognize the need for the inward healing. We keep coming to God for the purpose of asking, our prayers have become more of asking than conversing.
Unless we understand his love and his teachings, we wouldn’t know his heart and rather than proclaiming his love to others, we’ll keep him to ourselves just for asking him our wants forgetting what God really wants from us.