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WWJT: Why Was Jesus Tempted?

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Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. 
                                                                                                -Luke 4:1-2a
 
So why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness right after his baptism?
 
The first Jewish readers of Luke’s gospel would have likely recognized a pattern in this story: a major water event that leads to the wilderness, forty days, temptation, and trial. 
 
This has all the signs and echoes of the Exodus story--the birth of the nation of Israel as Moses led them out of Egypt, through the Red Sea, and into the wilderness where they circled for 40 years because of their disobedience. 
 
Jesus here is gathering up Israel’s story onto himself. He is taking up Israel’s story and re-writing it, redeeming it, doing what Israel should have done but failed to do over and over again. 
 
Jesus is True Israel, re-enacting Israel’s birth story. Israel is in the wilderness for 40 years due to their disobedience, Jesus will be in the wilderness for 40 days and will obey God even at great personal cost to himself.
 
And shortly after he emerges, Jesus will call 12 disciples, an echo of the 12 tribes or families of Israel that founded the nation. Jesus is taking up the story of Israel and he’s living out the redemptive work that God desired for Israel from the very beginning—to be the light to the nations.
 
We’re here talking about Jesus 2,000 years later because he took up Israel’s call on himself, lived it out perfectly, sacrificed himself on behalf of all the nations to forgive us all our sins, and was raised again by God the Father.
 
Spend some time praising God for how his work fits together over the centuries.  Thank Jesus for his faithfulness to the call to be True Israel in order to bless all the nations.

1 Comment

Thank you! While I had thought of the comparison to the Israelites plight, this is the first time I remember it being redemptive in that context. Wow! But then, that's how good God is!

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