At once the Spirit sent Him out into the wilderness, and He was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended Him. (Mark 1:12-13).

Mark’s version of this phase of Jesus’ training to be a son is quite sketchy. He gives no details about this event and yet, according to Matthew and Luke, it was a significant encounter with His arch enemy and one that would set the direction of His mission to reveal the Father as the perfect Son from here on.

He had always lived in fellowship with and obedience to the Father from birth even in an obscure village in Galilee as the son of a peasant carpenter. The Father testified to this at His baptism. But from now on, He would be facing the enemy head on, living in a fish bowl in the public eye, and open to public scrutiny from both supporters and enemies.

The success of His mission depended on declaring and demonstrating who He was – not the son of Joseph and Mary but the Son of God. He came as an accurate representative of the Father to reveal the true nature of their God to His people who had lost their way over centuries of rebellion, punishment and the influences of the surrounding nations.

It was time for them to know who their God was and to return to Him in repentance and trust. Jesus came to show them the way and to pave the way by removing sin and reconciling them to the Father. But how was He to do this? Before He ever opened His mouth to proclaim the good news that God was still in charge and that He had sent His Son to bring them back to Himself,  He had to be sure of His modus operandi. How was He going to convince the people of His identity?

The Holy Spirit had a bold plan. He didn’t send Him into the wilderness to study in a “Holy Spirit School” for forty days. Instead, He let the devil loose on Him just as He had done to His people centuries before when they came out of Egypt. As God’s “son” they had to endure the inhospitable and dangerous environment of Arabia as their classroom in their “school of learning to trust God” for forty years. Jesus must be put through His paces in the equally inhospitable wilderness for forty days.

Isn’t this a rather drastic way to further His education? Why not just sit Him down and give Him some guidelines for conducting His public ministry? No, that was too easy. He had to thrash out His trust in and loyalty to the Father in the “school of experience.” We have to turn to Matthew and Luke for the details of this clash. What was the devil’s plan? To get Him to cut loose from the Father just as he had lured Adam and Eve to do.

Three subtle suggestions – one goal; break the unity between the Son and His Father by getting Him to go it alone. After all, if He was who He said He was, the Son of God, did He not have the authority and power to act as God? If He was hungry, could He not just do a little magic like turning stones into bread? No one would notice and that would deal with His immediate need. It was just a small thing, really – like eating a bit of forbidden fruit.

“No way!” Jesus retorted. “It’s much bigger than you are suggesting. If I did what you are telling me, I would be putting myself under your authority and that is unthinkable.”

“What about getting God to do what you want? Jump and let the people watch a miracle.  After all, didn’t He promise to send His angels to guard you when you fall?”

Jesus saw through that one as well. “Are you crazy? I live under the authority of God’s word. I don’t use it to get my way.”

“Okay, so why don’t you just bow down to me? No one will see you and you can have the whole world without a fight.”

Jesus was adamant. “Get lost, devil! Who do you think you are – God? I will never put myself under your authority. I know who I am and nothing will change that.”

Round one – Jesus, one; Satan, nil. When He left the wilderness, He knew like never before who He was and how He was going to beat the devil. He would trust and obey the Father, no matter what. That’s what sons do.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

Available on www.amazon.com or www.kalahari.com in paperback, e-book or kindle format, or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

Check out my blogsite at www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com

Luella Campbell

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