By now in life, you must be aware of “advent Calendars” with their 24 doors you open each day counting down from December 1st to Christmas, and each day you get a nice little treat. My children love them each year, rushing through their meals (even the yucky parts) to be able to have that sweet treat, and one more door open until Christmas is upon us. I decided to see if I could find a “Spiritual Advent Calendar” for myself this year, and wouldn’t you know the Gospel of Luke is 24 chapters long! (Gospels are the four books in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, that tell of Jesus’ ministry and life.) How perfect – my own Christmas Advent reminding me of Jesus in the season of his birth celebration.
Fast forward to December 4th, or ‘Luke Chapter 4′ day. In context, Jesus has become an adult, and was baptized and felt lead by the Holy Spirit to go into the wilderness for 40 days and nights where he was tempted by Satan himself. First of all – whats with the whole 40 days in the wilderness thing? Well, Jesus was in a time of trial and testing, which we all know makes us stronger if we endure it well. Jesus is about 30 years old and about to begin his Ministry. I believe this time was to help give him the strength to have a testimony, and to understand the temptations every day people often feel as they themselves are tempted.
So, Jesus, wanders in the wilderness for 40 days without food. Try and imagine that; 40 days and nights in nature, with no people or friends, no social media, not even a bite to eat. I’m imaging that I would be lonely, famished and desperate. Enter Satan. He tries to tempt Jesus to do things like turn a rock into bread, and tests Jesus’ knowledge of scripture itself. How amazing an opportunity would it be for the most corrupt angel to win over the soul of God’s son who was literally sent to earth to redeem the people in earth. He takes Jesus, and we read in verse 5-7, “he revealed to Jesus all of the Kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”
Without missing a beat, Jesus tells Satan, “The scripture says you must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” (verse 8)
Wait just a minute. Slow down and really think this through. The devil reveals ALL of the kingdoms of the world?! Imagine learning of Ancient Egypt, the beauty and mystery of the pyramids. Imagine, the Roman empire, as they were creating so many modern day things we still use! Picture the beginning of time, before pollution, before anything was destroyed and there was only a few people on the earth. Think about modern day societies. I know I dreamed of becoming a royal family member as a young girl. Can you imagine being offered the chance to be a King or a Queen of wherever you live now, in this present age? How interesting and exciting that would be! The devil is offering Jesus not only that, but ownership over every single Kingdom. Every single country. From the dawn of time, to a time we don’t even know that is coming. Imagine the temptation in that moment.
Jesus is given a glimpse into what is to come. Imagine Him walking the earth in sandals, walking from town to town and seeing someday there would be jets, high rise buildings, trains, at this time even hover boards! Imagine Jesus who’s diet would have been a lot different from ours, eating things like fish and unleavened bread, seeing things like 24 hour drive throughs, fast food restaurants, anything you could possibly dream of craving or wanting available by walking into a grocery store. I cant even imagine how exciting it must have been to have been given a glance of all the kingdoms and history in the world. Can you imagine seeing 1000 years from now? Even just 50 years from now would be so interesting. How tempted would you be to say “yes Satan.. I’ll take that offer! Forget the plan my Father had for me. This is MY life and I want to be King over all of that stuff, I want to be King of this world! I’d much rather barter with you than die as a sacrificial lamb on a cross with real pain and agony. Show me where you need me to sign on the dotted line!”
The struggle is real! I don’t know if I would have been strong enough,being lonely, isolated and starving to turn down that offer. But Jesus did. He knew the word of God well enough to quote the Law the Jewish people believed and followed – that you must worship the Lord your God and serve ONLY Him. He stood in the face of the biggest temptation anyone could ever imagine and said “Naw, I’m good dude. I’ve got the law in my heart and a mission to fulfill. See yah!”
Wow. Just a few sentences of a chapter in the greatest story told, and yet, what an amazing few sentences. My heart was so full of admiration and love as I read these verses. Jesus loves us enough to take the road of extreme suffering and mockery, rather than accepting the greatest offer the enemy could give him. He loves us THAT much. I am not even sure I’d have the ability to turn that offer down for everyone, let alone one person, and yet Jesus didn’t stutter.
This Christmas season, I want to just think of that. How great a love does He have for us to remain that incredibly strong. But, also, what an amazing influence for us who call ourselves followers of Him. I struggle every day with temptations, and I give in more often than I’d like to admit. Maybe now, that struggle I have won’t be so tough to say no to because I will remember the One I have placed my faith in said No to the world and its glory so that I may one day reside in Heaven. Maybe now I will be able to stand a little bit more firm in my faith knowing my temptations are so minor, and the consequences of my temptations will never be as much as Jesus faced. If nothing else, I am that much more thankful for Jesus, His influence, His strength, His Will, and even His knowledge of the Word of God and ability to respond as He did. I am encouraged and inspired, and forever thankful.