(Ricky Scaparo) “Luke 4: 1- 13 – Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”
I want to encourage you during this season fasting and prayer to look at one of our greatest examples of resisting temptation through “Prayer and Fasting”. In the passage above Jesus was immediately led by the Holy Spirit to be tempted of the Devil for 40 days and 40 nights. How would Jesus be able to resist the 3 attacks of temptation from the enemy? Before we get into that let’s talk about the 3 attacks of the enemy that you can expect when you enter a season of “Prayer and Fasting”. The devil used the same 3 methods he has used since the beginning of time. These 3 methods are revealed below:
1 John 2:15-17 – Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The Devil threw these three temptations at the son of God while he was in the wilderness. He first came at him with tempting him to turn the stones into bread. Why? because Jesus was hungry from his long fast and this would have been appealing to the Flesh. Also the Devil wanted to make a “Hard” or difficult situation to be “Easy” or painless. Most of us don’t want difficult times and never be tempted, but again I will remind you that it was the Holy Spirit that led Jesus into the Wilderness to be tempted 40 Days and 40 Nights.
Every one of us will have seasons of being in the wilderness and there will come a temptation to escape something difficult by looking for something easy. “An easy way out”! He then tempted him with taking him to the top of the mountain to reveal to him the “Kingdoms of the World” and tried to persuade him to surrender his will to Satan and in return would be given authority to rule as a King over these Kingdoms. Although Jesus will one day return as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords it was not the will of the Father for Jesus to be a King when he was revealed as the Messiah, but to be a servant. This temptation would have derailed the entire plan of the Father. Also why would Satan tempt the “Son of God” with something he already had authority over? The answer is simple. Many times in our walk with God the Lord will call us out of what is “Familiar”, Our own “Hometown” if you would, But in this case Satan was telling Jesus, “Go back to your hometown and I will make it easy for you” I can prosper you where you shouldn’t be and make you famous. But again we must remember that, what many times looks pleasant and easy isn’t always God’s will.
The final temptation was really strange because it required Jesus throwing himself down from top of a building and tempting the lord to protect him. This temptation is really strange because, who in their right mind would attempt to do something this dumb? However I have seen many people make foolish decisions during a time in the wilderness. The wilderness represents a season of difficulty, isolation and fiery trials. Most people don’t make foolish decisions when they have a bank account full of money, a good marriage and on the mountain top. However when they are drowning in debt, marriage on the rocks and in the valley, they will seek desperate measures and can be prone to make foolish decisions. This is why suicide is rising because many believe it’s a way to escape these problems.
Now comes the question. How did Jesus endure these three temptations. The answer is in the account of Matthew that tells this same story but gives us the key. Matthew 4:1-2 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. The key was he fasted 40 Days and 40 Nights. Also Jesus released the “Word of God” against these assaults. Each time he was tempted Jesus responded with “It is Written” Finally the bible tells us that Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee! I believe the power came from enduring 40 days and nights of fasting and prayer. So here is the conclusion. When you and I begin a fast we many times expect immediate breakthrough and Blessings but the reality is that adversity will be waiting to oppose us as it did with Jesus. Secondly Fasting will give us the ability to resist temptations that in normal seasons we may find ourselves more prone to fail. Thirdly we must remember that during our time of fasting we must spend time in the presence of the Father and commune with him in his word and in prayer. If not you are merely on a diet and will fail in the Wilderness season.
Finally begin to believe for breakthrough when you get out of the wilderness! Believe to walk in the power of his might and Spirit! Believe for the impossible! Remember friend Jesus was only tempted for a season and the Bible says that the Devil ended the temptations and left until an opportune time and strengthened Christ through Heavenly assistance by an Angel of the Lord. You have more endurance when fasting and in prayer and the Lord will send you reinforcements if he has to. You can do this and the reward is waiting!