It is a sharp reminder to us that when we are most blessed by God we should be aware that the greatest temptations are likely to be there too! From the sense of being called and equipped and authorised for His ministry, Jesus is thrust out by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for FORTY days. The same Spirit who anointed Jesus at His baptism now drives Him out to test Him! One thing we learn from this immediately then is that temptations are not there to bring us down, but to strengthen us! They are not meant for our ruin, but for our good.
Just as Moses was with God on Mount Sinai for 40 days when he received the Ten Commandments; just as Elijah walked for 40 days in the strength of the meal the angel prepared for him, so Jesus was supported by angels in His wilderness travails.
Before He began His ministry and was swept along by the tide which His miracle-working caused, Jesus had to decide how to do His work. We can read in the other Gospels that Satan was encouraging Jesus to take shortcuts to glory, but His Father had told Him that He must go the way of servanthood and suffering.
So, some lessons for us:
1. Remember that God is in everything which happens to us-the good and the bad. Satan can only do what God allows him to do- Job 1 v 12.
2. The angels are with us to protect and support us-Psalm 91 v 11, 12: “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”
3. The Holy Spirit is within us, not only to protect us, but to challenge, to purify and work in us.
4. Take time to pray, particularly before any big decision. Jesus repeatedly went up to the hills to pray before major decisions, e.g. Luke 6 v 12-16