Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Lk 4,1-2)
Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days. Forty days represent the forty years spent by the Israelites in the wilderness after they had left Egypt. Wilderness was the place of God experience for the people Israel. They experienced the closeness of God, his protective and guiding presence (Ex 13,22). God’s ever abiding presence was experienced in the wilderness.
Wilderness was the place where the new Israel was formed. Those who came out of Egypt were slaves and children of slaves. But those who were born in the wilderness were born of freedom and only those who were born in freedom entered the land of Canaan.
So Jesus had God experience and God’s ever abiding presence in the wilderness and at the end of forty days he came out as a free person to start his public ministry.
Before he began his public ministry he was tempted by Satan. The Satan tempted him on three grounds:
· Trust in one’s own power. (You can turn the stone into bread, you have power)
· Trust in the material world (bow down and worship I will give the kingdoms)
· Trust in the external religion (jump down from the pinnacle and the angels)
Jesus did not fall into any of these temptations. He did not trust in his own power, talents etc; he did not trust in the material world and possession; and he did not trust in the external religion.
His answers to the Satan were all taken from the word of God. All the three answers are from Deuteronomy. (Deut 8,3 and Deut 6,13 and 6,16)
So at the end of the temptation, Jesus comes out trusting God and God only. He does not rely on his own human powers, material wealth and religious support to proclaim the kingdom.
The kingdom that he proclaims is based on trusting in God and the word of God.