Verse: Matthew 4:1-2
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

To set the groundwork for His ministry, Jesus first worked to identify with sinners. He was baptized, just as we are. Then, He endured temptation as another way to come alongside us and identify with us. He moves from the joyful, life giving experience of being baptized, straight into the solitude of the wilderness. These were His first acts to begin His ministry, so we know it’s important.

He bore levels of temptation we will never know. He was alone in the desert, tempted by the devil himself. He was tempted by the idea that many of us face- if we give in, we will be “relieved”. Our problem will “go away”. He was literally starving to death, and still did not yield to the temptation to just make it go away. Can you imagine being in a desolate land for 40 days and still staying strong against temptation, never wavering? I struggle to fight temptation on even my best day.

Here’s the craziest part of this story… He didn’t need to do any of that. He didn’t need to face temptation to help Him grow or strengthen His faith. He already knew He was all in. He knew how painful the experience would be, didn’t need to do it, but still chose to anyway. He did so for two reasons- 1 to show His holy, sinless character to the world. 2- to meet us where we are. He did this just to identify with us better. He can empathize with us because He truly does understand what it means to be a broken, desolate human. He is not some far removed God with no compassion for us. He stepped into it willingly to show us that we are not alone in our pain. It might not always feel like it, but we know it to be true because God shows us in His word over and over again- we are not alone. He sent His son to endure suffering, worse than we will ever know, so that we might have relationship with Him. We are not alone in even one step of our journey with Him. Jesus gets it, He has been in the wilderness with us. On your worst day, friend, cling to that. We are not alone and He understands.

Lord, thank you for the sweet reminders of Your love and care for me. Jesus, thank You for enduring temptation and hardship to show me that I am not alone. Help me to feel that today, remind my heart that You understand my struggles and heartache. Help me to cling to Your strength and Your presence as I also face a broken world full of temptations. We love you Lord, amen.

Author: Becca Artymenko