The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.
After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
I so admire the strength of Jesus. I know that He is God! Still the thought of going out into the desert, fasting, experiencing intense temptation, and being triumphant over it all is remarkable. You know, Jesus could have been victorious over the devil without the help of the angels ministering to Him. He did not have to fast in order to “win.” Why the desert?
I think that Jesus, just as in His baptism, was showing us the way – modeling the way to holiness – the way to beating temptation in our own lives. He shows us that time alone with God – away from the trappings and noise of the world is important. He shows us that fasting and denying our bodies can help us grow in spiritual fortitude! These are both great lessons for us to apply during lent.
I’m also intrigued by the length of time noted as 40 days. Forty is used so many times in the bible – the 40 days and nights it rained when Noah was on the ark; Moses went up the mountain and stayed for forty days and nights when he received the commandments; the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years before entering the promised land; Jonah warned the Ninevites that God would destroy their city in 40 days if they did not repent and so on. I read somewhere – and I thought this was interesting to note – that anytime the number 40 is mentioned in the bible, it refers to a period of trial, followed by a time of restoration.
Let us pray that at the end of this period of trial in our lives, that God will restore us threefold – spiritually, mentally, and physically!