I posted this in early 2011. I thought it good to bring it forward again.
This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).
The Lord's temptation in the desert provides
us an important lesson when our own life falls out of control. You remember what
happened in the Jordan. John baptized Jesus as the crowd
watched. Then the Holy Spirit appeared as a dove, rested on Jesus, and a voice
thundered from heaven: This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
One might have thought, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
But in the next verse, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert.
For 40 days,
nearly six weeks, the beloved Son of God, the One in whom the Father was
“well pleased” endured severe trials. Alone. Hungry. Cold. Tired.
And then Satan showed up to add to His struggles.
lesson is an important one, especially for us who endure our own
loneliness, loss, hunger, and heartache. Although Satan will use those
things to try to fool us into thinking God is angry with us, that God
has forsaken us, or God is unaware of our struggles, yet it is those
very struggles – severe as they may be – that give us a chance to
imitate what Jesus did. With each lie, Jesus entrusted Himself to His
Father whom He knew loved Him.
How did Jesus know He was beloved? He’d just heard it at His baptism. And He believed it.
Armed with that
knowledge of the Father’s love, Jesus could wield Scripture like a
razor-sharp sword against each sly demonic attempt to pull Him from the
path leading to our redemption.
Jesus said, “It is written” (verse 4).
Jesus said, “It is written” (verse 7).
Jesus said, “It is written” (verse 10).
Many years after
His resurrection, Jesus showed St. John a vision of the Church’s future,
a future in which Christians would endure great suffering and death at
the hands of Satan and his followers. Through the entire book of
Revelation, but specifically in chapter 12, verse 11, St. John tells us
Christians would overcome Satan, “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the
word of their testimony, and that they did not love their lives even
when faced with death.”
How can that be?
How can Christians withstand such an onslaught of evil? Because we know
God loves us. How do we know that? We heard it at our baptism. We hear
it in the words of Scripture each time we read it or hear it.
And we believe it.
Jesus was not led
into the desert because the Father was angry with Him. God led Him
there to model for us the behavior that will overcome Satan’s deceptions
in the midst of our own deserts – to do as Jesus did: entrust ourselves
to the Father who loves us, defend against Satan’s lies with God’s word
. . . and wait patiently for the deliverance that will surely come on
the wings of angels (Matthew 4:11).