Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days He was tempted by the devil. Luke 4:1, 2
Were Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness merely personal temptations? Certainly He was personally attacked. Forty days without eating left Him terribly hungry and therefore vulnerable to Satan’s appeal to change stones into bread. But Luke seems to indicate that these temptations were ministry temptations. God’s plan for the world was at stake in Jesus’ ministry. The wilderness temptation stands right between Jesus’ baptism and the beginning of His public ministry in Galilee. If He succumbs to temptation here, His lifelong ministry is destroyed. Luke records the third temptation as occurring at the temple in Jerusalem, where Jesus’ ministry will ultimately take Him. Furthermore, Luke indicates that “when the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). In other words, Satan will continue threatening Jesus’ ministry. How glorious that Jesus overcomes Satan’s temptation and carries out His ministry of salvation!
When Satan tempts us, are they merely personal temptations? Certainly we sometimes think of temptations as threatening our salvation or happiness as believers. But in a broader view, are not our temptations also ministry temptations? God’s plan for the world in Christ works through us. Jesus’ ministry is our ministry. When we succumb to Satan’s temptation, ministry damage is done.
Weak, often gullible and unsuspecting, we need the strong Son of God. Victor over the wiles of Satan, crucified in payment for our sins, Jesus stands at our side with His Word to give us victory over temptation and encouragement for caring.
PRAYER: O Lord, guide me through the temptations I face in my life. Help me to overcome Satan’s temptations with the victory of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. Amen.
(Devotions from “My Daily Devotion” by Dr. Stephen J. Carter, copyright 1988, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. For ordering information, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.)
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