When you face a dangerous or difficult assignment, where do you seek help?
Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
The way Jesus prepared for His earthly ministry is amazing: “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry” (Matthew 4:2). It is remarkable that the Creator of all food, who had every resource at His disposal, would choose to go without for such a long time. This fasting was important, though, in preparing for the temptations of the devil and ultimately for the cross.
John Piper gives this insight:
Here is Jesus standing on the threshold of the most important public ministry in the history of the world. None will escape damnation without this ministry of obedient suffering and death and resurrection. And God wills that, at the very outset, the ministry be threatened with destruction—namely, the temptations of Satan to abandon the path of lowliness and suffering and obedience. And of all the hundreds of things Jesus might have done to fight off this tremendous threat to salvation, he is led to fast.
When Esther faced her most difficult and dangerous assignment, she could have leaned on human activities. She could have undergone additional beauty treatments or brushed up on protocol. Instead, we are told that she asked for divine help. “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king” (Esther 4:16).
What is your first reaction when facing an overwhelming task? Is it to muster up your own courage and resources? Like Esther, we need to ask for God’s favor before tackling the impossible.
“If Satan had succeeded in deterring Jesus from the path of humble, suffering obedience there would be no salvation. We would still be in our sins and without hope. Therefore we owe our salvation to the faithful fasting of Jesus.” John Piper