MATTHEW 4: JESUS IN THE WILDERNESS
WHY DID JESUS GO TO THE WILDERNESS?
Notice something very important as you read Matthew's story of Jesus in the Wilderness: Forty days reminds us of forty years Israel spent in the wilderness. Israel failed in many ways in the wilderness, but Jesus faces the tempter in the wilderness and will show us how to resist temptation.
But the reason for Jesus going to the wilderness was not simply to show us how to resist temptation. In Matthew this is a divine reversal of the failure of Israel in their forty years of in the wilderness. Jesus The Faithful Israelite does not fail in his forty days in the wilderness. Jesus shows the faithfulness of God in the wilderness once again.
Temptations progress from simple food, to testing God, to outright bowing to evil. Jesus fittingly quotes from Deuteronomy, a wilderness book, to fend off the tempter's attacks. Jesus is tempted with the same idolatries as Israel, as we are.
Lord Jesus, you were tempted in every way as we are. Teach us to call upon the Name of the Lord and upon Scripture as Jesus did, to resist the evil one.
The forty day fast of Jesus is an extreme example of fasting. Fasting is going without food and praying in order to prepare for a life decision or to seek wisdom from God. Have you ever tried fasting? Discuss fasting with a family member or member of your church. We recommend you fast with someone or a group. Yes, Jesus fasted alone, and fasting alone is an option, but it's very difficult for someone who has never fasted before. Sometimes you hear of people fasting from certain things like social media or television, and that could be a form of fasting, but I recommend you follow the example of Jesus and fast from food while praying, for this is the most ancient and widely practiced form of fasting by followers of Jesus.
Greg Taylor is the preacher for The Journey. He's been with the church since 2005 and has preached since 2009. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.