“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
At the beginning of His public ministry, the Lord Jesus had to endure a gruelling time of testing in the wilderness. The Old King James Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted but the Greek term (peirazō) normally refers to testing. Christ’s ordeal was not to see whether He would be enticed to sin or remain faithful to His Father. Rather, the exercise was intended to prove conclusively that Jesus would not sin; His divine, morally perfect character precluded any possibility of that. This is similar to how Standard Aero would demonstrate to their customers the absolute perfection with which their aircraft engines were overhauled. The rebuilt engines were placed on a test stand and run at high speeds for extended periods of time. The company was not testing these engines to see whether they would function properly, but to show with absolute confidence that they would. In the wilderness, where Jesus was at His weakest state physically and the testing was very great, the Lord overcame the devil in spectacular fashion. He did so not only by trusting completely in His Father’s provision and promises, but by using the word of God as an offensive weapon against Satan’s verbal assault. This is our model for overcoming temptation also. The spoken word of God is like a double-edged sword that slashes through the enemy’s lies and deception (Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17). Finally, let us remember that even though it was impossible for Jesus to sin, nevertheless He knows what it is like to crave something forbidden to Him. In the garden of Gethsemane, He expressed His sincere desire to live and not face the horrors of crucifixion. Nevertheless, He remained steadfast in His commitment to fulfill His Father’s mission for Him (Matthew 26:38-42). Like a recovering addict craves drugs or alcohol, in the wilderness Christ’s body experienced a relentless, terrible craving for food. Though He could have satisfied His physical hunger at any time, He would not until His Father gave Him sanction. Merciful and faithful, our High Priest not only sympathizes with the feeling of our infirmities (Hebrews 4:14-16), He shows us how to overcome and gives us the power to do so. What a wonderful Savior our Lord is. May these words strengthen and encourage you today, dear saints.