As I began to look at this next section of Scripture here in the 4th chapter of Luke, I began by noticing the obvious that Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit. Now I know that many people may say that of course He is because He is God but we need to remember that Jesus came to Earth as a human for a specific reason. That reason was to fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law in which no other human could do. Jesus needed to be human in order to fulfill this righteousness and He too would depend on the Holy Spirit within Him to lead Him throughout His life. I believe all of this will make more sense as we move along in this study. This study will be just a look at the first 2 verses that shows us that Jesus was indeed led by the Spirit in every area of His life. We will look at the other Gospels and many verses showing Jesus’ obedience to God even though He may be led to difficult places and as we will see in the next study that He is led to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan himself. Let’s now get into our first point for this study which is….
1.Jesus is led by the Spirit.
Look with me at Luke 4:1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness. The primary focus of this point and really this study is going to reveal the humanity of Jesus and the need for Him to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that yes Jesus is God but He did not use every aspect of His deity as a human. Instead He humbled Himself in a way that gives us an example to live by. Now I know we can not be sinless and perfect like Him but that direction should be how we live our lives. I want us to look at what is said of this in Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Jesus at times did not exercise His power or authority as God while on Earth. There was times we see Jesus use His creative and healing power, we see Jesus raise the dead but other times He chose not to use the power that He had as the Son of God. This passage in Philippians shows that very thing and we need to understand that as we begin to look at Jesus’ ministry. Jesus makes this bold proclamation of His ability to use His power but then explains why He does not always use it in Matthew 26:53-56 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?” 55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. 56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
This was at the arrest of Jesus when Peter cut off Malchus’ ear. Jesus did not use His authority to call down twelve legions of angels because Scripture must be fulfilled. When we approach the temptation of Jesus as we will study on in the next study, we must remember why Jesus was tempted. Was it possible for Jesus to sin? No I think not but there was another purpose in the plan of God for these temptations and that was to allow Jesus to be tempted as a human so that He could prove to be the perfect sacrifice needed to appease God’s wrath on sinners. Hebrews 4:15 says For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
I say all of this to show that for certain Jesus was tempted and was led to this temptation by the will of God. That is why we see Luke 4:1 say And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness.
Matthew’s account says in Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Mark 1:12-13 says The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
So we see clearly that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for the purpose of being tempted by Satan. It is no surprise that Jesus is led by the Spirit because Luke 4:1 says that He is full of the Spirit. Jesus says this as we will see in the next few studies in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. This Jesus read in a synagogue in Nazareth from the scroll of Isaiah, we know this is from Isaiah 61:1 speaking of God’s Messiah.
Peter proclaims this very thing in Acts 10:37-38 when at the house of Cornelius: you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Jesus lived a life of obedience under the power of the Holy Spirit. He did this perfectly and never wavered in His obedience. We are told in Galatians 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. In other words if we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us as we see in the previous verses in Galatians 5, then we will live by the Spirit and we will walk with the Spirit. This is what Jesus did in everything He ever did and that shows us why Jesus went to the wilderness even though He would be tempted there. This helps us to see that in His humanity Jesus exercised obedience and overcame every situation that He faced. That leads us to our next point.
2.The power of Jesus’ fast.
Look with me at Luke 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. We know that Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted but there seems to be another purpose that is seen not just here but in Matthew’s Gospel as well. Here we see that in this 40 day period Jesus ate nothing. In Matthew 4:2 is says And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Verse 3 in Matthew indicates that this is when the temptations began. It was after Jesus had fasted and was hungry. This shows us again the humanity of Jesus but it also shows us the power that He had through this fast. Once again Jesus is God so He could never sin but this time of fasting gave Jesus the right direction in His life. Most people now don’t fast very much, in fact any fast that is promoted through most churches include fasting from other things like social media, video games or some other activity that may distract you. I would say that doing that is good and could have some benefit for you spiritually but that is not the definition of fasting from a Biblical standpoint. Fasting is always in association to the absence of food for a period of time. It does not have to be 40 days and 40 nights, it does not even have to be for a long period of time. The idea is to abstain from food in order to focus on what God wants for your life. It is to restrain yourself from a time of food to bring you to a time of prayer. Fasting is not to weaken you but it is meant to strengthen you spiritually. This fasting of Jesus strengthened Him for not only the temptations here in the wilderness but also what He would face during His time before His death and the strength He would need as He was led to the cross.
Fasting is seen all throughout Scripture so let’s look at a few examples of this in the Bible. We see in Nehemiah 1:4 As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.
Daniel 9:3 says Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.
Psalm 35:13 says But I, when they were sick—I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
When David’s child that was conceived with Bathsheba was dying David fasted. The account of this is seen in 2 Samuel 12:15-17 Then Nathan went to his house. And the Lord afflicted the child that Uriah’s wife bore to David, and he became sick. 16 David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. 17 And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.
These are examples of fasting but fasting is not supposed to be just to mourn but it is always associated with a time a prayer. Fasting is meant to strengthen us and is seen in David’s situation to do this very thing. Look with me at 2 Samuel 12:20, this is going back to the story of David after his child died that was born from his sin with Bathsheba and it says there: Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate.
David’s time of need was over and he now was strengthened through that time of prayer and fasting. If we had what happened to David, we would be wondering why God did not save the child. But David was strengthened and continues to trust God even after the death of his son. This time of fasting for Jesus was needed to guide Him into the ministry that He was set out to do. We will see this time of temptation but be sure this was not the only time in Jesus’ life that He would be tempted and tested by Satan. Jesus’ humanity was real, He hungered, He got thirsty, He got tired, He got distressed over the situations that He faced not with sinful thoughts or a lack of trust but because He was human. All of this shows us the humanity of Jesus but we will also see that He had unbelievable strength to fast for this period of time and then remain focused on what He came to do instead of falling to the tempting that comes directly at His humanity from Satan. In our next study we will unfold the temptations that Jesus endured and look at each temptations importance that guides us to live with the same perspective that Jesus had in doing what God wants no matter what situation we find ourselves in.