Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

The Leading of the Holy Spirit

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1 NKJV)
For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18 NKJV)

Why would the Holy Spirit lead the Lord into the wilderness to be tempted or tested?  Does this mean that the Holy Spirit might lead us into a “wilderness” experience to be tempted?  Yes, I do believe that is the case.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. (James 1:2-3 NKJV)

According to James who is probably the half-brother of the Lord, testing or trials produce patience.  Patience probably means the ability to endure. The early Christians were persecuted both by their fellow Jews and by the pagan Gentiles.  But those whose faith rested in the Lord were able to endure.  I am sure that those who just “signed up” because it was the thing to do, were winnowed out by the trials of the primitive church.

Paul reminds us that all things work together for good for those who are true believers (Romans 8:28).  This does not mean that all the things that happen in this world, happen for our good (it takes a pretty broad interpretation of good to believe that Adam and Eve’s sin was for our good or that the terrorism of 911 was for our good).  But all things that the Holy Spirit does for us in this chapter are done for our good.  I would take it then, that if we are led into a wilderness to be tempted by Satan, the Holy Spirit is doing that for our good.  One of the things that it will accomplish is that our faith will be proven to be genuine.  (See 1 Peter 1:7).  It will also give us a greater appreciation of the sufferings of Christ. (See Philippians 3:10).  It will also keep us reminded that this world is not our home.  We live in it, but we are not of it.  Our home is in heaven.  Certainly, the soon coming of the Lord will be a “blessed hope.” 

Encouragement when Suffering
The Lord was caused to be tempted to prove that He was the real deal.  He not only did not sin; He could not sin because He did not have a sin nature inherited from the first Adam as we do.  But in a more practical vein, He was tempted so that He could understand by practical experience what we as humans go through. Hebrews 5:8 says that though He was a Son, yet He learned (or experienced) obedience by the things which He suffered.  The writer of Hebrews in chapter 2 encourages us to believe that the Lord can come to the aid of His own because He understands.  He has suffered everything that we suffer.  The writer of Hebrews continues by saying, ‘For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV).

I am so glad that the Lord understands.  He not only died to save us, He suffered to experience what we go through because of sin and promises to come again for us.  Why would anyone reject a Savior like this?  It truly is a comfort to know that when the going gets tough, the Lord does not judge us for our weaknesses, instead He understands.

That is why the Spirit led Him into the wilderness.

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of January 5, 2020

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