We are in a unique season right now.
It’s not just our country that’s experiencing the pandemic.
It’s the whole world!
While countries around the world have locked down, I feel a sense of connectedness to places far away that I have never felt before.
Prior to Covid19, life was somewhat routine (as much as it can be). In the blink of an eye everything changed. We have been navigating an entirely different lifestyle than we ever have before.
Suddenly we find ourselves spending more time at home, more time with people who live in our house and less time with friends, people at church and co-workers.
At the beginning of this, I thought Zoom was the greatest thing ever.
Until Zoom held me hostage and I felt held captive by it.
Between my husband’s work and our kid’s schools it seemed like there were 20 people in our house via our computer camera. I often found myself walking the LONG way around the kitchen island so no one would see that I was still in my PJ’s after lunch.
It’s been a unique time for sure.
As quarantine is beginning to loosen, I have been reflecting back on our time at home. I have been asking myself, “How do I want to come out of this?” What do I want to change and what do I want to keep?
This reminded me of Jesus’ time in the wilderness and I found something very interesting in the text.
Jesus experienced a quarantine of 40 days.
His wasn’t directed by the government but by God! During that time, He didn’t interact with another human being, instead He was harassed and tempted by the enemy himself.
Let’s take a look at this time in Jesus’ life.
Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days in a place that extends from Jerusalem to Jericho. It was a desolate valley with steep walls that to this day, you wouldn’t want to spend the night in.
Jesus fasted during His time in the wilderness.
Some of us have fasted for a day or three… What about 40! Can you imagine the feeling of weakness in His body, the depth of hunger in His belly, the lack of His needs being met while being tempted by the ultimate trickster!
Let’s take a look at this in Luke 4:1-12
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Luke 4:1-12
As I read this passage, it hit me that the enemy tempted Jesus in three main areas.
We may find that we have also experienced these three things while we have been in quarantine.
He was tempted with the thing his body craved.
I don’t know about you but I am tempted by my refrigerator every time I walk by. If I hadn’t eaten for 40 days, I would have welcomed some stones being turned into a nice soft loaf of French Bread. I have spent my fair share of time with all things chocolate this past month.
What do we crave in moments of weakness?
Is it ok if we go there?
What about food, alcohol, drugs, or sex. When we find ourselves weak, we need to be alert and make sure we don’t fall into temptation that we will regret later. How do we react in these moments?
Jesus was tempted by power and control.
Let’s be honest. We don’t want to be controlled however most of us will take control when given the opportunity. Our desire to control can lead us down a path that ends in rebellion, animosity & anger. Satan will tempt us with control. What do we do?
Jesus was tempted with His identity
“If you are the Son of God…”
Please! Really! Nice Try!
How has your identity been questioned during this time?
Maybe you have heard…
…. Am I valuable enough to not be laid off?
… Am I qualified to homeschool our kids?
… Am I essential?
If any of these thoughts sound familiar, you can confidently say, “The Word of God tells me, I am loved, I am valuable, I am redeemed, forgiven, and I am complete in Him!
How are you coming out of quarantine?
As we read on in Luke there is something I noticed. Luke 4:1 tells us that Jesus went into the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit.
That word “full” means filled up, complete, lacking nothing, perfect. Jesus went into the desert full of the Holy Spirit. As a believer in Jesus, you are also filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was tempted for 40 days, held strong and then came out of the desert. Luke describes Jesus as He came out of the desert.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit… Luke 4:14
The word “power” means force, ability, abundance, virtue and strength.
Jesus entered his time in the wilderness full of the Holy Spirit and exited in the power of the Holy Spirit. It appears that He came out stronger than when He went in.
What would it look like if coming out of quarantine allowed us to have a stronger trust in God.
He sustains us…
He strengthens us…
He humbles us…
Let’s worship and serve God even in in those darkest moments.
Let’s come out of this quarantine stronger than when we went in.
May we reclaim the strength that comes from God!
The strength of our families!
The strength of our love!
The strength of our God!