Tested in the Wilderness
By: Rev. Greg Batson
And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Immediately following his baptism by John, Jesus is tested. The same Spirit that descended upon him in the Jordan River now leads him into the uninhabited desert beyond. There he faced hunger and thirst in the noonday heat and threats from wild animals in the dead of night. Before he can even begin his ministry, Jesus' life is in danger.
It is in this wilderness that Jesus is tempted by Satan. In Hebrew, Satan literally means "the tester". While Mark is silent about the actual temptations, Matthew and Luke reveal three of them: to turn stones into bread, to throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple, and to be given authority over all the kingdoms of the world. Each time Jesus refuses, relying on his faith in God to see him through this time of trial.
So too are we tested in the wilderness of our own lives. While we may not undergo physical hunger and thirst and danger, we are tested spiritually. We battle self-doubt, anxiety and depression. We become separated from our loved ones due to conflict and strife. We feel isolated and alone. The temptation to either rely on ourselves or to give up are strong.
However, with the help of God, we can survive this time of testing and be rescued from the wilderness. Our daily prayer to God, the Lord's Prayer, says "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". During these 40 days of Lent, trust in God to guide you through your time of trial. Walk with God and be brought home safely by his love and grace.