Matt 4:1-4: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
One of the first acts of Jesus’ public ministry after He was baptized was to enter into spiritual war with the enemy. Jesus was given the temptations that the first man Adam was given. “And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45 However, Jesus succeeded where the first Adam could not. Through this account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness, He signified His power and status as the Son of God.
The wilderness is a significant part of Jesus’ ministry, whether it was here proving His heavenly status, or when He needs to retreat from time to time to be alone in order to pray and revive Himself. The wilderness is a significant part in our lives as Christ-followers. We are sometimes led into the wilderness in order to endure trials and sufferings, and then there are times when we seek the quietness and solitude of the desert place. This place is what Jesus refers to as our prayer closet. It is a time of rejuvenation and revival when we and the Father come together and abide together. The wilderness is a time of learning and growing, it is a crucible for the Christ-follower. During this time in the wilderness it said that Jesus fasted. This is a self-imposed time of suffering where we deny our flesh and rely on God. The denying of Himself prepared Jesus to fight this spiritual battle with His adversary and overcome Him.
After a forty day fast the first temptation was that Jesus turn the stones into bread. Jesus’ answer was the instruction for every Christ-follower to turn to when we are tempted not just with food, but by any of our lusts: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We are not to live by bread, sex, money, power, career, advancement, or security, but by God’s word. If we abide in God then all our wants, lusts, and desires, will diminish. God’s word is sufficient for all of my needs.
The Christ-follower need not fear the wilderness Instead we need to embrace it and learn, as our Lord demonstrated that self-denial and self-discipline are the characteristics of a person after the things of God. The wilderness is where the battle takes place, whether that is with the devil or with us; it is a place of much learning and wisdom. Be led by the Spirit, into the wilderness often.
Old Testament: Gen 12-14 New Testament Matt 5:1-26