“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1
Listen: Matthew 4
Immediately after his baptism, Jesus goes into the wilderness for a forty-day fast that ends with three temptations from Satan. To understand the significance of these temptations, we need to review Israel’s history. God promises to create a nation of people through Abraham that will bless the world. He makes a covenant with them promising to be their God, and they promise to be his people and obey him (Exodus 19:3-8).
The nation of Israel then becomes enslaved in Egypt, but God leads them to freedom through Moses. This journey takes them into the wilderness, a difficult place to survive between Egypt and the Promised Land. Here their character is tested and revealed. God miraculously provides them with bread, but they complain. When they hit setbacks, they test God by demanding him to prove himself. And when things aren’t going well, they turn to idols.
Jesus faces the same issues in his own wilderness experience. The difference is that where Israel fails—he succeeds. Jesus is the new Israel, “the entire story of God’s people is being reenacted, fulfilled, pardoned, and rewritten” by Jesus (A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus page 92). Jesus models to us how we can face the “wilderness” times in our own lives and flourish.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Read Chapter 5 of A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus and enrich your understanding of Jesus through new insights into Israel’s history and Jesus’ identity. Download this week’s lock screen as a reminder to worship and serve God only.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.