Jesus, Israel and the Wilderness

While reading Scripture do you ever have moments where you think "why in the world haven't I seen that before?" I had one of those "aha" moments while reading Luke 4. In case you don't remember, in chapter 4 Luke writes about Jesus' forty days of temptation in the wilderness:
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 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 (v.1,2, NIV).
Although I've read this passage of Scripture many times before, I never noticed the connection between Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness and Isreal's 40 years in the desert. (Take note of the particular temptations that Luke records.) Israel certainly struggled to follow the LORD faithfully during their time in the wilderness. Israel continually sinned against the LORD. The author of Hebrews writes:
Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief (v.16-19, NIV).
Yet, unlike Israel (and us!), Jesus obeyed the His Father perfectly. He met every temptation with a faith-filled response. Where Israel failed, Jesus prevailed! Let us praise and worship the Father for sending His Son--our perfect high priest:
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:15,16, NIV).

No comments: