Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. – Matthew 4:1
There are people who are willing to put themselves into harm’s way. These people recognize the serious nature of their commitment and understand the potential consequences. They are ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and security of others.
There is a special debt of gratitude these people deserve – military personnel, fire fighters, members of law enforcement, even emergency medical technicians. Without their willingness to serve, and their readiness to sacrifice everything, our lives would be much more difficult. The same can be said about Jesus, and the debt of gratitude I owe him.
When I read Matthew’s account of Jesus’ temptation, I might wonder, “Why would the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? Why would he put Jesus into harm’s way?” The answer has everything to do with my rescue from sin and my freedom from the controlling power of the devil.
Because I am a sinner from birth (Psalm 51:5), it is impossible for me to defeat the devil. So great is his power over me that I would always succumb to his attacks. It is because of my weakness that God the Father had his Son come to this earth, take on my flesh and blood, and become my substitute. This meant Jesus had to live under all of God’s righteousness requirements (Galatians 4:4-5). It also meant Jesus had to put himself into harm’s way.
In order to free me from the devil’s control, Jesus had to subject himself to temptation. Every cunning act, every lie and deception, every powerful ploy, Jesus undertook on my behalf. What was impossible for me, Jesus accomplished perfectly and without sin (Hebrews 4:14-15). He overcame the devil’s attacks and secured the complete victory on my behalf. He now offers me the ability to live a self-controlled, upright and godly life (Titus 2:11-12).
It is because of Jesus’ work that my life has been changed. I am spared from the devil’s cruel and controlling ways. I am at peace with God through my Savior’s perfect obedience. I am safe and secure because Jesus put himself into harm’s way to rescue me.