The Gospel of Luke | Led by the Spirit | Luke 4.1-2 |

by | Jan 9, 2021

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” Luke 4.1-2

I assume that Jesus was “led by the Spirit” in many instances. Probably for him, being fully God and fully human, he lived in a state of perpetual presence – meaning, he was always in God’s presence, always one with the Father.

But maybe more for our sake, the author tells us he was “full of the Holy Spirit…and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” This passage always strikes me as odd on one hand and perfectly natural on the other.

One one hand, why would the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil? What good could come out of that? And why, speaking of, does God allow us to do the same — to be tempted and put through trials and face difficulties well beyond our own natural ability? On the other hand, it’s the most natural place for one to be who is filled by the Holy Spirit — fighting against evil and standing up pure, holy and strong.

This morning I am thinking about my friend and a pastor Matt Netzer. Yesterday he went to be with the Lord in an unexpected and sudden car crash. He was married with two preteen kids. So why would God allow them, namely his wife, to go through the wilderness in such a way? Why allow her to walk alone through the rest of her life, raising two fatherless children with only the memory of their dad left behind?

I wish I had the answer. And I don’t really blame God. I know he has a reason, a purpose and a plan. We say this everytime someone we love dies but it is true. The same Spirit who led the beloved Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted by Evil is the same who allowed my friend to die yesterday before his time. A gifted speaker, teacher and a loving father, gone in an instant, it seems surreal and unnecessary.

Something interesting to note from this passage in Luke is Jesus never questioned “why” he was being sent. Did he know? Certainly? Was he concerned? Not particularly. Did he feel equipped? Absolutely. The same Jesus who went through his own wilderness experience certainly can relate to ours.

Why not trust him today? Why not lean upon the Lord in the midst of our pain and loss? This life is temporary, we know that full well. But the life that awaits is forever.

“O Lord God, my heart is heavy, the loss is great. The hurting from those closest to my friend is substantial. Yet in the midst, you are near. You are here. You have prepared your people for times like these with the indwelling of your Holy Spirit. And it is not too much for us to bear. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen