Leading the Beloved & Begotten Into the Wilderness

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically today’s passage is found in the fourth chapter of this New Testament book. “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. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, he shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, it is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord the God. Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him” (Matthew 4:1-11).

 

            “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Netphthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matthew 4:12-16).

 

            “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and Ill make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed them” (Matthew 4:17-22).

 

            “And Jesus went about all galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:23-25).

 

            When you come to the fourth chapter of the gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written by the apostle Matthew you will find it beginning with what might seem like one of the most unique encounters and experiences within the life of Jesus. Upon beginning to read the fourth chapter of this gospel narrative you will find the apostle Matthew writing concerning Jesus and how He was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil. This is something that is truly unique when you take the time to think about it for the temptation of the wilderness comes directly on the heels of His going up to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the final verses of the third chapter you will find Jesus of Nazareth coming forth from Galilee unto the Jordan River that He might be baptized of him. Initially John the Baptist balked at the thought that Jesus needed to be baptized by him and suggested that it was he who needed to be baptized by Jesus. In response to the words which were spoken by John the Baptist Jesus would declare unto him that it was so that all righteousness might be fulfilled. It would be upon hearing these words John the Baptist would proceed with baptizing Jesus there at the Jordan River. What would happen as Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River is anything short of extraordinary for the Synoptic gospel authors each record something absolutelry astounding taking place upon Jesus’ emerging from the waters.

 

            Having said and written these words I invite you to turn and direct your attention to the actual words which were written and recorded in the third chapter by the apostle Matthew. It is here in this passage of Scripture we are brought face to face with the narrative of the Lord Jesus coming unto the Jordan River and unto John the Baptist desiring that He be baptized of him. What’s more is that I find it absolutely to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the gospel narratives written by John Mark and Luke the physician as they help shine an additional light and perspective on the baptism of the Lord Jesus and what happened there at the Jordan River—not only between the Lord Jesus and John the Baptist but also between the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit and the Father which dwelt in the midst of the heavens. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the Synoptic gospels concerning the baptism of the Lord Jesus beginning with the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew:

 

            “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him; and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17).

 

            “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him; and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:9-11).

 

            “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21-22).

 

            It is absolutely necessary we pay close attention to the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible truth surrounding those initial actions Jesus took once the fulness of time came and He became of the age when He would begin fulfilling that which He was sent by the eternal Father. There is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to Jesus coming forth from Nazareth and from Galilee unto the Jordan River that He might be baptized by John the Baptist. The apostle Matthew writes and records how Jesus came forth from Galilee to Jordan unto John to be baptized of him although he does not declare why Jesus would do so. There is absolutely nowhere in the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew where he actually takes the time to explain why the Lord Jesus would come forth from Galilee unto the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. The only thing the apostle Matthew records—which is something neither John Mark nor Luke record in their gospels—is that when John forbade Jesus from being baptized of him and declared how he needed to be baptized of Jesus He would respond by declaring “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” In short there really isn’t any explanation concerning the nature of the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ and why He felt the need to come unto him there at the Jordan River to be baptized of him. The only thing we know is that Jesus would speak unto him and declare that His being baptized was to fulfill all righteousness.

 

            If there is one thing that makes the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ in the waters of the Jordan River so incredibly unique when you take the time to think about it it’s what happens after Jesus emerges from the water of the Jordan River. The apostle Matthew as well as John Mark and Luke each record a unique experience taking place as Jesus emerged from the waters of the Jordan River. As you continue reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that when Jesus was baptized and came forth from the water the heavens were opened. It wasn’t enough for the heavens to be opened for the apostle Matthew would also write and record how in addition to the heavens being opened John the Baptist would see the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting or resting upon the Lord Jesus there in the midst of the waters of the Jordan River. What’s more—as if this weren’t already enough—we find a voice speaking from heaven and emphatically declaring concerning the Lord Jesus that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well-pleased. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding the baptism of the Lord Jesus and the events which would take place as a direct result of that baptism. Jesus would come forth from Galilee to be baptized in water by John the Baptist and it would be when and as He came forth from the waters of the Jordan River that the heavens were opened unto and before Him. Not only were the heavens opened unto the Lord Jesus but we also find two distinct and different events taking place at the Jordan River.

 

            Upon taking the time to read and study the narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ—specifically His baptism by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River—you will find that not only were the heavens opened unto Him but you will also find the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the bodily form as a dove. This is actually quite unique when you take the time to think about it for you will recall in the second chapter of the New Testament book of Acts how on the day of Pentecost there was a sound as of a rushing mighty wind that filled the whole room where the one-hundred and twenty souls were present. Not only was there the sound as of a rushing mighty wind but there were also cloven tongues of fire which appeared in the midst of that room and lighted upon each and every soul that was present. It was on the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given unto men as the Lord Jesus had promised when speaking unto His disciples and followers. It would be on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit would not only light upon all those who were present within the upper room but would indeed fill them with His presence and power. What we must needs realize when considering this is the words which Jesus spoke unto Nicodemus by night and how He declared unto him that unless one was born of water and of the spirit they would not see nor would they enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is something which has a direct correlation to the words we find in the three synoptic Gospels for what we find within these gospels is an incredibly powerful picture of Jesus being baptized in water and then the Holy Spirit descending upon and in a way baptizing Him as He stood there in the midst of the waters.

 

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the final verses of the third chapter and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the absolutely awesome and incredible truth surrounding the baptism of Jesus and how the heavens were opened before and unto Him. It would be as the heavens were opened unto and before Him we not only find the Holy Spirit descending upon Him in the bodily form as a dove but we also find the Father speaking from heaven concerning this Jesus of Nazareth. The apostle Matthew writes how John the Baptist would indeed look and behold the Spirit of God descending upon Jesus of Nazareth like a dove and lighting upon Him—something which would be of incredible significance for the apostle John. It would be revealed and spoken unto John the Baptist that He whom it was that had the Holy Spirit descend and rest upon would be He that would not only be the Messiah but would also baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for when you consider the Holy Spirit descending upon the Lord Jesus in bodily form you must not only consider it in light of a sort of baptism of the Holy Spirit but also the direct fulfillment of that which was revealed unto John the Baptist. It was revealed unto John the Baptist that He upon whom the Holy Ghost descended and rested upon would indeed be He who would baptize both with fire and with the Holy Ghost. There at the Jordan River the Holy Ghost would descend in bodily form upon the Lord Jesus Christ and rest upon Him. This would be a clear sign unto John the Baptist that this Jesus of Nazareth was the long awaited Messiah and the One who would baptize both with water and with fire from heaven. What an incredibly wonderful experience this was for John the Baptist at the Jordan River for not only would he personally witness and behold the heavens being opened but he would also witness and experience the Holy Spirit descending and lighting upon Jesus of Nazareth.

 

            The more you read and consider the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more you will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth surrounding the experience and encounter of the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth there at the Jordan River. It would be there at the Jordan River where Jesus would not only be baptized of John the Baptist but would also experience and receive the Holy Ghost descending from heaven upon Him in bodily form like a dove and resting upon Him. What’s more is that there at the Jordan River you will find a voice speaking forth from Him concerning Jesus and speaking something which was truly unique. It was one thing for John the Baptist to consider Jesus of Nazareth as the long awaited Messiah and it was one thing for John the Baptist to consider Jesus as the One who would baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, however, it was something else entirely and altogether different for John the Baptist to think of Jesus as the only begotten and beloved Son of the living God. There was indeed the Messianic expectation concerning the Messiah who was to come and there was indeed an anticipation that the Messiah would indeed come forth at the appointed time and would bring about a great deliverance and redemption of the nation and people of Israel, however, there was virtually no one would either would or could have anticipated that the Messiah would also be the Son of the living God.

 

            I am sitting here today writing these words and I find myself coming face to face with the tremendous truth surrounding Jesus the Christ and how He was not only the long awaited Messiah that had been prophesied by the Law and the prophets but He was also the eternal begotten and beloved Son of the Father. There is something truly unique and powerful about the narrative of this Jesus of Nazareth for we know that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and how we beheld His glory—the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. We know that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham and was that One whom men and women had indeed expected and looked for. Even Andrew the brother of Simon who had previously walked with John the Baptist would come unto his brother Simon and would emphatically declare unto him how they had found the Messiah—the one whom the Law and the prophets spoke of and foretold. If there is one thing we must needs recognize when considering the words which are found in this passage of Scripture it’s how this Jesus of Nazareth was more than just the long awaited Messiah but was also the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. When the living and eternal God desired to accomplish His greatest work in the midst of the earth He didn’t send prophets, or mighty men of renown, or mighty men of faith, nor any of the Old Testament saints. When the time came for the living and eternal God to accomplish and fulfill His greatest work within and upon the earth he would indeed send His eternal and only begotten Son born of a virgin.

 

            I have previously written how it was absolutely necessary for Jesus to have been conceived and brought forth of a virgin rather than being conceived and brought forth by the union of a man and a woman for Jesus would be conceived and brought forth in the image and likeness of the eternal and living God. It was the apostle Paul and the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews where we discover how the Lord Jesus was indeed the express image of the invisible God and that He came forth into the earth to fulfill that which was the original design and intention upon the creation of Adam from the dust of the earth. Adam was indeed taken from the dust of the earth and formed into man, however, it would not be until the breath of life was breathed into his nostrils that he would indeed become a living soul. Upon the creation of Adam—and not only Adam but also the race of man—we find the living and eternal God communing with Himself and the triune Godhead concerning making man in their image and after their likeness. This is important for us to recognize and understand for when you think about the creation and formation of Adam you must needs recognize that he was formed of the dust of the earth and created in the image and after the likeness of the living God. Through sin, however, that image and likeness would be marred as sin and death would begin to reign within and upon the earth. It would be in the fifth chapter of the Old Testament book of Genesis we read of God creating man in His own image and after His own likeness, however, after sin and after the fall Adam would begat another son after Abel was murdered—one who was born in his image and after his likeness.

 

            I can’t help but think about and consider just how incredibly unique and powerful the truth surrounding Adam begetting a son in his own image and after his own likeness for within the rest of the fifth chapter we find a history of fathers who would beget sons in their own image and after their own likeness. Although the original design of the living God was to create man in His own image and after His own likeness that image and that likeness would indeed be marred and tainted by sin. There would be something about the fall and the sin and transgression that was committed in the garden that would be of intrinsic and great value when considering the words which are found in the fifth chapter for after the fall man would beget sons and daughters in their own image and after their own likeness. It is for this very reason when Jesus would come forth into the earth born of a woman He would not be conceived and brought forth as a result of the union between a man and a woman. The simple fact that Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost as the power of the most High overshadowed her would allow Him to be untainted and unmarred by sin, by the sin nature, by rebellion, by transgression and by death which had plagued and ravaged the earth from the time of Adam until that time. For Jesus to be conceived within the womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost would not only ensure that He would be untouched and untainted by sin and death which had been passed down from and through Adam but it would also ensure that he would indeed be the perfect image and likeness of the living and eternal God.

 

            This image and likeness of the eternal and living God would indeed be incredibly necessary to consider and think about when reading these passages of Scripture for when Jesus came forth born of a woman in the midst of the earth He would come forth as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. As such He would bear the express image and likeness of the eternal and living God within and upon the earth. If there is one thing we must needs recognize concerning the Lord Jesus Christ it’s that not only did He fulfill all that had been spoken of concerning the Messiah and the Christ but He would also come forth as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. In fact it would be when Jesus spoke unto Nicodemus by night He would declare unto him how God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Moreover Jesus would also declare unto Nicodemus that God did not send His Son into the earth to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. It is this declaration concerning Jesus and His being the Son of the living God which was one of the greatest stumbling blocks for both the Jews and the religious community and system during those days. It would be Jesus’ declaration that He was indeed the Son of the living God that would offend and anger the Jews and the religious community during those days for by making such a declaration He was placing Himself on equal footing and ground with God Himself.

 

            The more I think about and consider the words and language which are found in the final verses of the third chapter of this New Testament gospel the more I am brought face to face with the beautiful truth of the Lord Jesus being conceived and brought forth into the earth as the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. What we find here at the Jordan River was something intrinsically connected and linked to Jesus being conceived and brought forth as the Son of the living God for within this passage we find God Himself speaking from heaven and declaring concerning Jesus that He was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Before Jesus would perform a single miracle, before Jesus would overcome the devil the wilderness, before Jesus would teach a single word, before Jesus would experience any amount of suffering and before Jesus would allow Himself to be nailed to and crucified upon the cross that He might experience death in the form of flesh the eternal and living God would speak from heaven and declare Him to be His beloved Son in whom he was well pleased. There at the Jordan River—not only did the living God speak of the Lord Jesus as His beloved Son but He also expressed divine pleasure and delight in Him. Jesus hadn’t done anything in the earth at that point and He had already brought pleasure and delight to the heart of the Father. Jesus didn’t need to perform a single miracle nor did He need to teach a single thing in the earth for the Father to be pleased with Him and for Him to be the Son of the living God.

 

            There is something we must needs recognize concerning the baptism of the Lord Jesus there at the Jordan River for it has direct implications for us as those who have been given the power to become the sons of God. It was in the first and opening chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John we find him declaring that as many as received Him—Him being Jesus the Christ—it would be those who would be given power to become sons of the living God. This is something we must needs recognize for it wouldn’t take works, it wouldn’t take great deeds, it wouldn’t take signs, wonders and miracles, nor would it take any special effort on our end to be made sons of the living God. In order to be made sons of the living God we need only receive the Lord Jesus—and not only receive Him but also believe on Him. It is when we both receive the Lord Jesus and believe on His name that we are given power to become the sons of God—those who not born after the flesh, nor after the will of man but after the divine will and pleasure of the living God. Oh we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the incredible and tremendous truth surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ and how he didn’t need to perform a single miracle nor did He need to do a single good work in the earth to be the Son of the living God and Father which was present in heaven. Jesus was beloved and Jesus was the beloved Son of the living God before He had performed a single miracle, done a single work and even before He experienced suffering and death in the form of flesh and blood. Jesus would be the beloved Son of the Father in whom he was well pleased before He would carry out a single thing for which He had been sent into the earth.

 

            Before I transition to the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew I find it absolutely incumbent to call and draw your attention to the divine pleasure and delight of the living God and Father in you. If it was true that Jesus did not need to perform a single miracle or do a good work and was known as the beloved Son of the Father in whom he was well pleased then it is true that we can be considered sons of the living God in whom He is well pleased without doing a single good work or deed in the midst of the earth. There are many who would like to think that in order to become and even be considered as sons of the living God they need to do some great deeds and some great work in this lifetime within and upon the earth. There are those who think and feel that in order to bring delight and pleasure into the heart of the living God one must commit themselves to a certain degree and measure of works within the earth. This is something we have a great need to recognize and understand when considering the encounter Jesus of Nazareth had at the waters of the Jordan River for it would be there at the Jordan River the heavens would be opened, the Holy Spirit would descend upon the Lord Jesus in the bodily form of a dove, and the voice of the Father would speak from heaven and declare Him to be His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. The Lord Jesus would indeed be the long awaited Messiah whom the Jews were looking for and expecting and yet He would be so much more than the Messiah and Christ for He would be the only begotten and beloved Son of the Father.

 

            There is great joy, comfort, hope and solace found in the truth that Jesus would indeed come forth as the Messiah and Christ but also as the eternal and only begotten and beloved Son of the living God. The Lord Jesus Christ would indeed come forth into the earth as the Messiah and as the Christ who had been spoken of in and by the Law and the prophets, however, when He would finally come forth into the earth He would come forth as the Son of the living God. Suffice it to say that there was perhaps no one who would expect or even consider that the Messiah and the Christ who had been long awaited and expected would also be the Son of the living God. In fact one has to wonder if the Jews and the religious leaders could have accepted the idea that Jesus was the Messiah and was indeed the Christ had he not also made the boast and claim that He was the Son of the living God in heaven. When Jesus walked and dwelt among us He not only did so as the Messiah and the Christ but He did so as the Son of the living God. It would be here at the Jordan River we encounter and experience one of the greatest testaments to Jesus of Nazareth being the Son of the living God for the Father Himself would speak forth from heaven emphatically declaring Him to be His beloved Son in whom he was well pleased. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for when we think of the long awaited Messiah and Christ we must needs recognize that the Messiah and the Christ was also the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father which dwells in the midst of heaven itself.

 

            The Father desired to do His greatest work in the midst of the earth and although that work would indeed be fulfilled by the Messiah and the Christ it would be fulfilled by a son—and not only would it be fulfilled by a son but it would be fulfilled by the eternal and only begotten Son of the living God. That which we find in this passage of Scripture must needs be recognized and considered for when we think of the Lord Jesus we must recognize that He was born of a woman apart from the union of that woman with a man that He might come forth in the image and after the likeness of the eternal and living God. This is something we have a great need of paying attention to for it brings us into the place where we recognize the Lord Jesus as being the begotten and beloved Son of the living God. Jesus was begotten of the living God apart from the work of the flesh and apart from the will of man as His being conceived and brought forth would be a work of the Holy Ghost alone. There would be absolutely no flesh that could or would be involved in the conceiving and bringing forth of the Lord Jesus for in order for Him to be the only begotten of the Father and be the perfect image and likeness of the living God He needed to be conceived and brought forth absent and apart from any work of the flesh. Oh this is something we have a great need of recognizing and paying attention to for it calls and draws our attention to the truly awesome and wonderful truth surrounding the Lord Jesus as being conceived within the womb of Mary by the Holy Ghost as the Son of the living God. There would be absolutely no flesh that was involved with the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ for it would be a direct work of the Holy Ghost coming upon Mary and the power of the most High overshadowing her.

 

            There at the Jordan River the voice of the Father would speak forth from heaven and beautifully express and declare Jesus to be His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. At the Jordan River we find the declaration from heaven itself—the declaration from the Father Himself—that Jesus was indeed His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. In all reality we ought to be incredibly grateful for this declaration from the living God from heaven on the day Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus would indeed be the only begotten and beloved Son of the living God and He would be the firstborn among many brethren. It is absolutely necessary that Jesus come forth of a virgin in the midst of the earth in the image and after the likeness of the living God being a Son of the Father for it is in what we know and understand Jesus to be that we also understand what we have been called to be. It is because Jesus Himself was the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father who was beloved that we ourselves can become sons of the living God. It is no coincidence that John the Baptist would declare that as many as received Him it would be unto those who would be given the power to become the sons of the living God. Jesus came forth as the begotten and beloved Son of the Father for the ultimate objective and desire of the living God was to raise up a generation of sons and daughters. Jesus would indeed be the first of many sons within and upon the earth and He would be the greatest of them all for He would be the begotten and beloved Son of the Father. Jesus would come forth in the earth born of a virgin that He might not only be the perfect image and likeness of the living God but also that He might be the only begotten and beloved Son of the Father which was in heaven.

 

 

            When we come to the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find the narrative of Jesus in the wilderness—and not only Jesus in the wilderness but also Jesus being driven into the wilderness by the Spirit. The same Spirit which descended upon Him in the bodily form as a dove would be the same Spirit that would drive Him into the wilderness. What’s more is not only did and would the Spirit drive Jesus into the wilderness like the children of Israel would be in the wilderness after coming forth from the land of Egypt but Jesus would be driven into the wilderness that He might be tempted of the devil. The temptation of Jesus must be recognized and understood for at the very heart and core of the temptation of the devil there in the wilderness was this understanding that Jesus was the Son of God. In fact if you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that in each of the temptations the devil hurled at the Lord Jesus he would have at the very heart of those temptations the knowledge and understanding of Jesus being the Son of the living God. The first temptation which the devil would indeed hurl at Jesus would be the temptation to command stones be turned into bread. At the very heart and center of that temptation would be the understanding and assumption that Jesus was indeed the Son of God. The devil would come unto the Lord Jesus and tempt him along the lines of His relationship to and with the living God and how if He was indeed the Son of God He ought to command the stones before Him be turned into bread.

 

            I find it absolutely incredible to read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew for it calls and draws our focus to Jesus being driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit—and not only His being driven into the wilderness but driven into the wilderness for a very specific purpose. Jesus would indeed be driven into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil for while it was necessary for Him to be baptized in the waters of the Jordan River that all righteousness might be fulfilled it was also necessary for Him to be driven into the wilderness that He might be tempted of the devil. There in the wilderness Jesus would fast forty days and forty nights and would afterward become hungry—and not only hungry but in a weakened and vulnerable state. It would be within and from the place of having fasted for forty days and forty nights and from the place of being hungry the tempter would come unto Him and would begin the work of tempting Him along the lines of commanding stones be turned into bread, casting Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple, and even bowing down and worshipping him there in the midst of the wilderness atop that mountain. Oh we must needs recognize and understand the awesome and wonderful significance of what is found within this passage of Scripture for at the very heart of it we find the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness—and not only the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness but also His being tempted from the place of being the Son of the living God. In each of the first two temptations the devil brought against the Lord Jesus we find the tempter speaking and declaring unto Jesus and if He was indeed the Son of God then He ought to demonstrate and show it.

 

            The more I think about the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ by the devil in the wilderness the more I can’t help but think about the fact that the voice of the Father would speak from heaven and declare unto Jesus that He was indeed His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. This voice of the Father would be spoken unto Jesus before He had performed a single miracle, before He had done a single work or deed in the midst of the earth, before He had taught a single message and had preached a single sermon. Jesus was indeed the beloved Son of the Father and the Father was greatly pleased with Him without and apart from His having done anything in the midst of men upon the earth. When, however, we come to the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ we find the tempter using that knowledge and the understanding that He was indeed the Son of God to incite demonstration and manifestation in the earth. The Father had expressed the wonderful and beautiful truth that Jesus was indeed His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased and those words would be spoken without and apart from Jesus having said or done anything along the lines of what He had been sent forth and had come into the earth to accomplish and fulfill. Now we have and find Jesus in the wilderness and the tempter is coming unto Him tempting Him along the lines of His relationship with the living God—and not only His relationship with the living God but also His being the Son of the living God. Jesus would indeed be the Son of the living God and yet there in the midst of the wilderness He would be tempted of the devil to demonstrate and prove that He was the Son of the living God—first by commanding stones to be turned into bread and secondly be casting Himself forth from the pinnacle of the Temple in the midst of Jerusalem.

 

            I sit here today thinking about the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible reality of how the tempter operates the same way within our lives in this generation. It is indeed true that as many as received the Lord Jesus were given power to become sons of the living God who were born not of the flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man but of the spirit. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize and understand that the tempter can and will attempt to capitalize on that particular truth within our hearts and lives and tempt us to prove and demonstrate that we are indeed the sons of the living God. The tempter would come unto the Lord Jesus there in the wilderness and the first temptation he would bring against Him would be the temptation to command stones be turned into bread. This temptation would indeed be unique for within it the tempter would not only incite Jesus to use His divine power to transform stones into bread but also to use His divine power to satisfy His own needs and desires. The first temptation the tempter brought against Jesus centered upon the very real and very physical need of his being hungry for He had fasted forty days and forty nights. The tempter would come unto the Lord Jesus there in the wilderness and would attempt to incite Him to satisfy His own desires, His own needs and perhaps even His own wants in the flesh by commanding the stones be turned into bread. Oh this is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for at the very heart of this temptation was whether or not Jesus would seek to satisfy His own desires, His own needs and His own wants.

 

            If there is one thing we must recognize when considering the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ it’s that when He was tempted He was not only tempted as the Son of the living God but He was also tempted as a man. When we think about the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness we must needs recognize and understand that He was indeed tempted as a man who was indeed come in flesh and blood. Although Jesus faced the tempter and his temptations as the Son of the living God He would face it in the flesh—and not only in flesh but also flesh that could be weak and vulnerable. It is not by accident or coincidence that Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights for when the tempter came—not only was Jesus in the form of human flesh but Jesus was also in flesh that could be weak and vulnerable. Pause for a moment and consider the language that is found in this passage of Scripture for before the tempter even came unto the Lord Jesus we find it written how He had fasted forty days and forty nights and was afterward an hungred. It would be in that place of being hungry, in that place of being weak, in that place of being vulnerable and in that place of being in need the Lord Jesus would face and experience the temptation of the devil there in the wilderness. What’s more is that not only was Jesus in the form of human flesh, and not only was Jesus in a weakened and vulnerable place having fasted for forty days and forty nights but Jesus was also in the harsh environment of the wilderness and the desert. It wasn’t enough for Jesus to have fasted and to be hungry but He would also be weakened and vulnerable in the midst of the wilderness and the desert.

 

            As you read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will be brought face to face with Jesus who had just been baptized in the Jordan River, who had just witnessed and experienced the heavens being opened, who had just experienced the Holy Spirit descending and lighting upon Him in the bodily form of a dove, who had just experienced the voice of the Father speaking from heaven declaring Him to be His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased and who was even led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. It would be after fasting forty days and forty nights the Lord Jesus would indeed be hungry and would be in a weakened and vulnerable place in His own flesh. It would be in that weakened and vulnerable place the tempter would indeed come unto the Lord Jesus and would bring his various temptations against and upon him. What’s more is that we must needs recognize and understand that the temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ was not only designed but also permitted by the living God. It would be the very Spirit which descended and lighted upon Him that would lead Him into the wilderness for the express purpose of His being tempted of the devil. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of how absolutely incredible this is when you take the time to think about it for when Jesus would enter into the wilderness He would not only enter having been sent into it by the Holy Spirit but He would also be sent into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit and in the power of the Spirit.

 

            Jesus would indeed enter into the wilderness having been baptized by John the Baptist in the waters of the Jordan River. It would be there at the Jordan River Jesus would not only experience the heavens being opened but would also hear the voice of the Father declare concerning Him that He was His beloved Son in whom he was pleased. There at the Jordan River the Lord Jesus would also experience the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the bodily form of a dove and lighting upon Him. There in the midst of the wilderness Jesus would be exposed to the limitations, the weaknesses and the frailty of human flesh. It would be there in the wilderness the Lord Jesus would fast forty days and forty nights and would afterward be hungry and in a place of being in need. Oh we must recognize and pay close attention to this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely incredible truth of the Lord Jesus having come in the flesh and being exposed to all things as we are. The simple fact that Jesus was hungry suggests that He was fully human and subject to all things as we are dwelling in tabernacles of flesh and blood. The Lord Jesus would indeed be driven by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness and it would be there in the wilderness Jesus would fast forty days and forty nights which would cause Him to become hungry, weak, and vulnerable in the flesh. It would be in that weakened and vulnerable place in the flesh the tempter would come unto Jesus seeking to capitalize on his weakened and vulnerable place through temptation—and not only in this weakened and vulnerable place but also upon His being the eternal and only begotten Son of the Father in heaven.

           

            If you read the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you will find it beginning and opening with the activity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ as it would be the Spirit that would lead and send Jesus up into the wilderness. It would be the Holy Spirit that would lead Jesus into the wilderness where He would be tempted of the devil after fasting forty days and forty nights. Pause and consider how absolutely incredible this would have been for Jesus to not only be in the wilderness for forty days but also to have fasted during those forty days and nights. Stop and consider how incredibly weak Jesus would have been and how more often than not the devil and tempter comes to us in those weakened and vulnerable moments within our lives. More often than not the devil can and will wait until we are at our weakest and at our most vulnerable place in our own flesh and it is at that time the enemy and adversary can and will come against us with his temptations and accusations. Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights and was hungry—and not only was He hungry but He was also undoubtedly incredibly weak, fragile, frail and in great need within His flesh. The devil would hold nothing back and would seek to come against the Lord Jesus there in the desert in that place of being weak and vulnerable with temptations that would seek to capitalize on His relationship with the Father—and not only His relationship with the Father but also the divine power He had within Him. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that when Jesus came to the earth He was not only one-hundred percent God but He was also one-hundred percent man. This is indeed the reality and truth the author of the epistle written unto the Hebrews sought to convey within the epistle concerning the Lord Jesus. It is within this epistle we are brought face to face—first and foremost with the divinity of the Lord Jesus as being the express image of the Father and having been made greater than the angels. Within this epistle we are also brought face to face with the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ—humanity that would enable and allow Him to taste and experience everything we have that He might be a faithful and merciful high priest.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found within the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews. The words which we find in this epistle must needs be carefully considered for they show and demonstrate both the divinity and the humanity of Christ and how they worked in perfect harmony and unity with each other. Having said this I would like to invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews beginning with the first chapter:

 

            “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy k ingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:1-14).

 

            “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified saying, What is man that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crowndest him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:5-18).

 

            “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

 

            As you come to the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative of the Lord Jesus Christ—not only do you find Jesus overcoming the temptation of the devil in the wilderness but you will also find that after Jesus emerged from the wilderness He came and dwelt at Capernaum which is a city on the sea coast in the borders of northern Israel. What is so incredibly powerful about this is that Jesus’ coming unto Capernaum and dwelling in the midst thereof was in direct fulfillment of the prophetic word which had been spoken of centuries and generations earlier by the prophet Isaiah. It was the prophet Isaiah who in the same chapter spoke of the government resting upon the shoulders of the Messiah would also speak of the people which sat in darkness would see a great light and to those which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. It is truly incredible to think about the fact that Jesus’ being born in Bethlehem would fulfill prophecy, Jesus’ being brought down to and brought forth from Egypt would fulfill prophecy, Jesus’ living and growing up in Nazareth would fulfill prophecy and now Jesus’ dwelling in Capernaum would fulfill prophecy. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for those places where Jesus is conceived and those places where Jesus dwells not only fulfills prophecy but also carries out the divine work of the living God which must needs be done within the earth. This is something we have great need of recognizing within our own hearts and lives for wherever the Lord Jesus is conceived and dwells within our lives not only fulfills the prophecies concerning Him but it also accomplishes the divine work and will of the Father within our hearts and lives.


I bring this writing to a close by calling and drawing your attention to the reality of those places where Jesus is conceived and brought forth—and not only those places where Jesus is conceived and brought forth but also those places where He dwells within our lives—for such realities reveal unto us the divine work and will of the living God within our hearts and lives. We must needs be those people who allow the life of Jesus to not only be conceived within us but also allow the life of Jesus to dwell within us. What’s more is that as you read the words which are found in the fourth chapter you will find the apostle Matthew describing those places where Jesus dwells as being places where light shatters the darkness and where He calls men to repentance and following Him. If you truly desire to be one in whose life Jesus is permitted to dwell then you must needs anticipate and expect light to shine in the midst of and completely shatter the darkness. Furthermore you can expect those places where the Lord Jesus dwells as being those places where He calls us to repent declaring the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Not only this but in those places where Jesus is permitted to dwell an invitation is given to follow Him. As if this weren’t enough we must recognize that in those places where Jesus is permitted to dwell the gospel of the kingdom is preached, sickness and disease is healed and evil and unclean spirits are cast out. Oh that we would be a people who would not only allow Jesus to be conceived within us but would also be a people who would allow Jesus to truly dwell and inhabit our hearts and lives knowing that His light will shatter the darkness, knowing that He calls us to repentance and following Him. Moreover we must recognize and understand that in those places where the Lord Jesus is permitted to dwell the gospel of the kingdom can and will be manifested, sickness and disease can and will be healed and unclean and evil spirits can be cast and driven out by the divine power of the living God. We must needs be those who not only allow the life of Jesus to be conceived within us but also those who allow the life of Jesus to dwell and inhabit our beings that the divine will and work of the living God might be accomplished within and through us.

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