By Dr. James R. Miller
“Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.” – Matthew 4:1
The time is to be noted. It was just after the wonderful scenes of our Lord’s baptism. The heavens were opened, and the Spirit descended and abode upon him, and the Father’s voice was heard from heaven in approval and witness; then immediately came the terrible experience here described. Spiritual privileges do not save us from fiery trials. Indeed there is no time when Satan is so sure to come with his subtle arts as just when we have passed through some season of special blessing. When we go from our prayer closet after a time of tender communion he meets us at the door with some evil suggestion. It is after we have been nearest to God that we are sure to find the devil most active. He is not half so anxious to tempt worldly Christians as those who are glowing with spiritual zeal.
An old writer says: “All the while our Savior lay in his father’s shop and meddled only with carpenter’s chips, the devil troubled him not; now that he is to enter more publicly upon his mediatorship the tempter pierceth his tender soul with many sorrows by solicitation to sin.” It is the same with us. So long as we move on quietly in our ordinary life he does not trouble himself to harm us; but when we rouse up to new consecration and new activity in God’s service he pounces upon us and tries to destroy us. It is therefore in our times of greatest spiritual exaltation that we need to be most watchful. We learn here also that we may expect to endure temptation in this world. New power came to Jesus through his conflicts. His life was developed and made perfect through sufferings. Then he was fitted for sympathy with us in our temptations by himself being tempted in all points as we are. Temptations resisted always bring new strength. Victorious struggle prepares us for helping others in their temptations.