We don’t have many details about Jesus’s life before his public ministry began. Matthew and Luke give us some highlights surrounding Jesus’s birth, and Luke tells us a quick story about Jesus bailing on his family for a few days when he was about 12 when he learned and taught at the temple. But that’s about it.
Most of the stories written about Jesus start when he was about 30 years old. It’s around this age when he really began to embrace and live out his role as the Son of God. Something happened then. We don’t know what, or how his heavenly Father communicated it to him, but it was time. It was time for him to step out of the shadows and show people who he really was… to show people who God really was.
His first way of doing that was demonstrating that he could withstand even the greatest of temptations and still remain focused on his mission that lay ahead. In Luke 4, we read that God directed Jesus into the wilderness, where he ate nothing for a solid forty days. It’s then—hungry and tired—that Jesus is tempted by the devil himself. Food, power… he would get both of those if he’d just jump through a couple of the devil’s hoops. But he resists.
The enemy was trying to get him to doubt God the Father, but Jesus repeatedly showed that he believed that what his Father said could be trusted.
It’s not quite the same as what Jesus experienced, but we’re faced with choices on a regular basis: Do I trust what God has for me—or will have for me in the future—is good enough? Or am I willing to take a shortcut for short-term satisfaction? For example:
Can God provide intimacy for me in a healthy way, or do I take the shortcut of finding intimacy in the wrong way?
Can I learn to be content with whatever material possessions I have, or am I willing to take a shortcut to gain even more?
Do I have a need to gain or hang onto popularity or power? Am I willing to take a shortcut ethically to try to get them or keep them?
“Heavenly Father, thank you for showing us that Jesus was able to trust you in the midst of great temptation. Help me to trust you as well. Amen.”
Before next time, read Chapters 6 and 7.
Right before Jesus started his public ministry, he was faced with a few very strong temptations to doubt God.