Mark 1:12-13 (NIV): At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.
Jesus’ temptation was not some weird occurrence that surprised either Him or the Father. It was all part of the plan. So the Holy Spirit led Him out into the wilderness specifically to be tested.
Jesus started His ordeal with a 40-day fast, just like Moses underwent on Mt. Sinai (cf. Deuteronomy 9:9). This made Him hungry, of course, but He didn’t merely fast for those 40 days. Like Moses, He was with the Father for that whole time – hearing His voice, experiencing His presence and His power, and receiving instructions for His public ministry that He would soon begin. So when the enemy approached Jesus, he did not find a weak and vulnerable man who would leap at his tempting offers of food, prestige, and power. He did not find someone who was so desperate to succeed that the means to that end didn’t matter. Instead, he found a man who was strong and powerful, a man from whom the presence of God radiated, and out of whom the strength of God flowed. So all of satan’s best temptations merely bounced off!
There was a special symbolic element in these temptations as well. The first Adam, though lacking nothing and well-fed, had buckled under satan’s temptations, causing massive damage to the whole created order. Jesus, as the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45-49), the harbinger of a new era in man’s relationship with God, resisted the temptations completely, and began a whole new economy in which mankind would no longer have to exist as prisoners of sin and depravity, but in which we, too, could live in obedience to God’s commands, serving God in holiness and righteousness all of our days (cf. Luke 1:74-75).
Father, thank You for the victory of Jesus over the devil, and for the hope that His victory gives us. Thank You that in Him we are no longer doomed to be snared by the enemy’s temptations, but that we can be more than conquerors through Him. (Romans 8:37) Amen.