This is blog number 6 in our Wilderness series. There will be at least one more, if not more. I hope they have been inspiring and helpful to you. You can listen to them, and other messages at betheleast.org on the podcast page.
We are in the process of overhauling our website so please forgive us for what you will see if you visit our site. I am also tweeting at Twitter @drkevinmdrury and have two Facebook pages. One is a personal page and the other one is my itinerate ministry [Hisstorymakers Ministries] page.
In the Book of Ephesians, as in other places in the New Testament, we find the phrase, “in Him” or “in Christ”. I recommend you do a study on all the verses that have those words in them.
Identity theft began in the Garden not with the advent of the technology age. Mankind’s identity was stolen in the Garden and God is restoring to us and for us all that we lost.
Jesus, the Last Adam came to seek and to save all that was lost, not just all those who were lost. Those who are “in Him” have some amazing privileges and provision.
In Ephesians chapter one Paul the apostle tells us that all things are summed up in Christ and He fills and fulfills all things. “With a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth . . . the fullness of Him who fills all in all” [verses 10, 23].
Each of the individuals we have studied in this Wilderness Series and the lessons we have learned from these studies are all summed up in Christ’s wilderness experiences. He and His experiences are the culmination of each of them and so much more. We see Him in all of them and we find them in Him.
In this blog we will look at Matthew’s account of Jesus’ wilderness experience. We can find His wilderness experience in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s Gospels. In the next blog in the Wilderness Series we will at least look at Mark’s account and hopefully Luke’s as well.
Before we head to the wilderness I would like to point out that Jesus is known as the Son of God and the Son of Man. The first speaks of His Divinity and the second His humanity.
There are no references to Jesus calling Himself the Son of God in Matthew and Mark’s Gospel. Other people and demons called Him that but He never called Himself by that title.
Yet, in Matthew’s Gospel He calls Himself the Son of Man thirty times and in Mark’s Gospel fourteen times.
What is the point? The point is that Jesus set aside His Divine attributes so that He would be limited to our limitations. He lived His life as a man in right relationship with God the Father and who was led and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
He did this because He is heaven’s model and our role model for all life and ministry. He lived in the vulnerabilities of a human nature. He could have sinned when He was tempted but He never yielded to the wishes of the prince of darkness.
Jesus went into His wilderness experience as the Lamb. He came out as the Lion. He was, and will always be the Lion and the Lamb. Yet when He went in He was the recipient of the prince of darknesses onslaught. He proved that it is possible to remain true to God under the most horrendous assault by the dark side.
But when He came out He no longer was the recipient of the dark one’s attacks. He went on the attack and He has never stopped His assault on the kingdom and prince of darkness.
The first place we will look is Matthew’s Gospel even though Mark’s was the very first Gospel written.
Oh yeah, Jesus went into the wilderness experience right after He was baptized in the Jordan River and was publicly affirmed as the Lamb who was to come [Son of Man] and also as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah [Son of God]. John the Baptist identified Him as the Lamb and God the Father affirmed Jesus was His Son. The Holy Spirit affirmed them both by lighting on Jesus when He came up from the water.
This baptism in water is very important. John felt he needed to be baptized by Jesus but Jesus said John must baptize Him to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus did not need to be baptized in the sense you and I do. We get water baptized to publicly testify of our born again experience and our alignment with God and His Kingdom purposes. Water baptism is also a type of cleansing. Jesus did not need cleansing. He always had been and will always be without sin.
So why did Jesus say He must be baptized to fulfill all righteousness? I cannot go deep into this but suffice it to say that John was the legitimate high priest because of his lineage. Whenever there was a transition from one hight priest to the successor the departing high priest either baptized or oversaw the baptism of his successor. Not only this but the successor was supposed to be his son. When the son, the successor came up out of the water the dad would say, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased.” This was done to affirm the son but also to confirm he was the legitimate person to hold the office of high priest.
The writer of Hebrews declared Jesus to be the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. Our confession is more than what we say. It is what we say with our lifestyle. Our actions speak much louder than our words.
The Jordan River has great historical and spiritual significance. Jordan means descender. It comes from a root word that means to go down, to sink down and to decline. The Jordan eventually travels down until it dumps its water into the Dead Sea.
It was at this very same Jordan River that Joshua, an OT type of the Messiah, led Israel into Cannan, the place of promise and inheritance. When the priests stepped into the water, which was at flood stage, with the Ark of His Presence on their shoulders, the water retreated all the way back to a place called Adam. It was here that the Last Adam began His assault on everything the dark one had done and plans on doing in the earth.
This wilderness assault by the dark one was over the identity and call of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was tempted in every area the first Adam was tempted in and now all mankind is tempted. Those areas are the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
Jesus not only survived the satanic assault but He thrived in it. His identity was not stolen. He was emboldened more in His heart and mind as He guarded who He was.
In Matthew chapter four we read, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
As we learned in the story of the bride in Song Of Solomon [Transformed In The Wilderness] the wilderness is a place of promotion. In that story we saw where the Beloved and her Lover came up out of the wilderness.
Now we see that Jesus was led up into the wilderness. God is taking us from glory to glory. When we cooperate with Him everything in our lives releases promotion. God causes all things to work for the good of all those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. God does not cause all things.
The Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The word tempted can be interpreted two ways. One, as a solicitation to compromise and sin. Two, as a test to find out what is in our heart.
The first one is always the dark one’s goal and the second one is always God’s intention.
The word means to test, or to pierce. It has as part of its connotation the image of a baker sticking something like a tooth pick into a cake to see if it is done in the middle. Remember, one lesson we must learn in the wilderness is that we do not want to come out when we think we are done but when God says we are done.
James the half brother of our Lord wrote in chapter one verses twelve through seventeen that God does not tempt anyone but everyone is tempted when they are carried away and enticed by his own lust. Lust conceives and gives birth to sin which when it is finished produces death.
He goes on to say, “Do not be deceived my beloved brethren.”
But God says in Deuteronomy chapter eight verses eight through eighteen what His intentions are in every test.
Let’s look at verse sixteen. I would recommend you read the entire text on your own.
“In the wilderness He fed you manna which your father’s did not know, [so] that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end.”
There is a lot in this one verse. First, we read that God takes care of His people in the wilderness with supernatural provision. God provided manna from heaven. He goes on to say that not even the Patriarch’s Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had this kind of treatment.
It is not a good plan to live from the old church adage, “We’ve never done it this way before so it must not be God.” How arrogant to think that God will not nor cannot do something new in the earth.
Manna means “what is it”. It was so new that no one new what it was. They only knew that it was good. Our minds are better students than teachers. God is Spirit and it works out better if we discern with our spirit what God is doing and let our spirit, under the direction of God’s Spirit teach our mind what is going on.
Next we learn that God did this to humble them. Humility is not thinking less of ourselves as much as it is thinking of ourselves less.
In the wilderness we must learn to trust completely on God. Again, in SOS chapter eight verse five [Transformed In The Wilderness] we saw how the Beloved came up from the wilderness leaning on her Lover.
The purpose of every test we took in school was to show us what we knew and what we did not know. We do not know what we do not know so we are tested so we will know what we did not know.
This process was not intended to shame us but to reveal where we need to focus and progress. My dad used to tell me as he spent time with me teaching me how to play sports, “Kevin, always spend extra time on your weaknesses without neglecting your strengths. This way you will be a more balanced athlete and you will accomplish more and be more successful.”
This wisdom works in every area of our lives. When the devil tempts us trying to get us to compromise God uses it as a test so we can find out if there are areas in our lives that need His attention.
When God gives us a test to reveal where we need work the dark one comes to pervert the work of God in our lives for the purpose of getting us to fall.
Even if we do fall God does not condemn. He restores! Listen, none of us have blown up the planet.
And finally we learn from this one verse that God’s plan is always good. “To do good for you in the end.”
“Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father.”
“I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
Welfare is the Hebrew word shaw-lome’ and it is the greatest blessing in the Bible. It means completeness, soundness, peace, safety, health, prosperity, quiet, friendship, and so much more.
Future is the Hebrew word akh-ar-eeth’ and it means posterity, and a positive end.
Hope is the Hebrew word tik-vaw’ and it means a cord, a good outcome and a good expectation.
The enemy attacks our hope before he attacks our faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. In other words, if the dark one can get us to give up hope there is nothing for faith to aim for. Hope can resurrect our faith but our faith needs something we are hoping for to be attracted to.
That is why we are told to feed on what God is doing and not on what He is not doing. [Psalm 37:3; Proverbs 13:12]
I hope this helps you! God is for you!
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury