The third section in this week's Bible Lesson on Unreality has the story of Jesus going into the wilderness and being tempted by the devil. He had just heard directly from God that ' this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased'. He was a grown man now and ready to begin the mission God had been preparing him for. We know little about his growing up years but even as a young man he was found in the Temple talking with and questioning the elders. He must have been quite the Bible scholar and spiritual thinker. He had many years to read about the Messiah, he may have heard from his mother the details of his birth, he, like other Jews, was waiting for this great Leader to appear. And now it was pretty clear that he was the one.
No wonder he went into the wilderness to be alone and pray. It was only near the end of that time, when he was hungry and thirsty ( for answers as well as food and water) that the temptations came. Isn't that how it happens for us sometimes? We begin to see what may be ahead for us but we are not sure exactly what we are to do about it. Those temptations may have been part of what he was trying to understand about himself and his role as the Messiah. He must have known that it would not be what the people were expecting. He would not be the great warrior King leading a religous battle. He would be fighting much greating enemies.
There is a great scene on an Indiana Jones movie where he is faced with a test of faith. He must step out over what appears to be a very deep canyon and trust that he will make it across to the other side. He takes that step and finds that there is a transparent bridge, hidden from a normal perspective. When he throws some sand on it, he can see how wide it is and just where to step to get to the other side. The bridge was there all along, he only needed to trust and take that first step.
What is the 'tempter' trying to use to entice you? This week's Lesson is all about choices and choosing. Those temptations start with an 'if', they are designed to sow doubt. Be alert to that with the suggestions that come to you. Jesus was not fooled or mislead, he simply responded with a Bible verse that came to him right when he needed it. Shows how valuable it is to read the Lesson regularly and really study the citations. They come to you just when you need that thought.
So he knew the right answers when he required them. But when the test was over and the devil left him, there is more to the story. It says that angels came and ministered to him. He had his doubts cleared now and those angel messages brought comfort and affirmation. He was faced with choices and he chose wisely. God doesn't lead us into temptation, the suggestions are not coming from Him. So we don't have to prove anything, we don't have to impress anyone, and we don't have to worship any other so-called power. Blessed are those who face temptation and are stronger for the experience.