The Start of a Ministry

Jesus’ ministry started after He was baptized by John. Following His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit of God to the wilderness, where He fasted for forty days and was tempted by Satan before commencing His God-assigned mission. During and after the forty days of fasting, Satan appeared and began to carry out his malicious work. Why did this occur during the forty days, just before Jesus embarked on spreading the Good News of a Savior? The answer is two-fold!

The first point to note is an interruption. When we set out to be alone with God or have a quiet time, don’t be surprised if Satan tries to interrupt. He loves to make noise when you are in prayer and thrives on causing distractions when you’re immersed in God’s Word.

The second point to consider is that Satan aims to obstruct the mission God has assigned to us. The adversary is in the business of derailing and destroying. Satan tempted Jesus with three things: food, fame, and power!

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11)

If Jesus had given in to any of the three temptations, then His mission from the Father would have derailed and imploded. What was Jesus’ mission? His mission was to live a sinless life and die the death that we deserve. In doing so, Jesus would absorb the wrath of God for anyone who elects to put their faith in Him! Again, Jesus couldn’t complete this mission unless he was perfect and sinless.

Today, Satan’s old tricks are still being used on God’s children. If he can convince us to put food ahead of God’s Word, popularity or fame ahead of our relationship with Him, and power and wealth ahead of His calling for us, then Satan has done his job! Notice how the first temptation was food, and Jesus responded by saying we are not to live on food alone but to live on every word that God has given us! Men, if you live and abide in God’s Word, treat It as a prized possession, preserve and protect It. Then we will have a foundation built on rock, not sand.

Therefore, everyone who hears these Words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the Rock. But everyone who hears these Words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. (Matthew 7:24-27)

When temptations arise (and they will) and storms set in, the Word of God anchored in your heart will provide you with strength, guidance, and confidence in the One above. Like Jesus, the Lord desires to use you to demonstrate His love and mercy to others. However, lurking in the wilderness is the enemy, Satan, seeking to derail your assignment! God is explicit in His Word (the Bible): it is His Living Word that He employs to communicate with His children. Just as Jesus needed time with His Father, so do we, as His children. Nothing in the Word will go to waste.

Have a blessed week!

RTM, Stephen L. Thomas