The Mind Game

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Head in Hands, the God-Man sagged forward, allowing the bleached stone to support His fatigued Frame. Stretched out before Him lay the haggard wilderness of the Judean hills. Although other regions of this terrain blossomed fertile and green, this barren outcropping had scant vegetation due to its scorching furnace heat and cutting desert winds. As far as His Eyes could see, deep ravines sliced the miles of limestone, adding to the monotony of His solitude. 

A singular Acacia tree offered Jesus filtered shade during the sun’s midday radiance. His skin, long dried from the baptismal waters of the Jordan, now felt parched. Before Him, a desert scorpion crawled past the hole of a painted carpet viper, fortunately napping from the noonday heat. This hefty serpent could grow up to thirty inches and had a venomous and deadly bite.

Nightfall held little relief as darkness awoke the mountain lion and Arabian leopard. Without shelter, the Son of God built a crackling fire against the night’s chill and the beast’s prowl. Every passing day without food, He realized His natural alertness waned as hunger bore down hard.

For the first few days, His abstinence from food gnawed His gut and throbbed His head. Yet, as He turned the corner of His fast, His clarity of Mind returned. With every breath, He communed with the Father, Who helped displace His discomfort. 

Weeks in, however, His exhausted body demanded sustenance with a vengeance. By this point, Jesus was genuinely malnourished, and every bodily function was on high alert for crisis. He was close to death.

As the sun made its arc across the cloudless sky, the solitary Man affixed His eyes upon a smooth round stone at His Feet. With the foggy reasoning of emaciation, the rock’s shape and size reminded Him of the loaves His mother used to make. Within the depths of His being, He heard a simple suggestion: “Why are You suffering thus? Change the stones to bread. You can do it.”

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How comforting to know that Jesus’ temptations were much like ours: the belly, the belief, and selfish ambition. An open manifestation of evil is rarely a snare, so evil’s entrapments are much more subtle. Satan masks his whisper to sound like our own: “God will love me anyway, so why not?” We trip over our right to privilege. 

Like us, Jesus’ Mind could go from the stones around Him to the pinnacle of the temple in a moment. As S.D.Gordon says, “It is ever a favorite method with the tempter to rush a man.” It’s no wonder that God underscores patience. 

Although He was God, Jesus responded to temptation as a Man. “Man cannot live by bread alone.” Again today, He comes to our aid since He was made “in every respect like us (Hebrews 2:18 NLT). 

Our response to temptation is to follow His lead. Despite exhaustion, hunger, trauma, or pain, we ask God, “What truth can I apply here? And then do it. The devil is repealed by the power of the Word.

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