Preparation for a test
Matt. 4:2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
Our Lord Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights before He was attacked with three diabolical temptations from Satan. The Bible does not reveal to us what Jesus did during those forty days and forty nights, but it is likely that He spent most of the time in communication with His heavenly Father which, as Scripture reveals, was His pattern throughout His ministry.
There have been others in recorded Biblical history who also took time to be alone as they prepared for the ministry for which God called them. Moses spent forty years in Midian in preparation for his leadership of Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land; the apostle Paul lived three years in the desert of Arabia before launching his extensive ministries.
The text of Matthew 4:2 informs us that at the end of the period of fasting, Jesus was hungry. We are all familiar with how hunger can impact our stability. Hunger weakens us physically and somehow leaves us more vulnerable to spiritual attack, which is precisely why Satan often attacks us at such times; but hunger also exposed one’s true nature before God because the pressure of hunger can be immensely self-revealing.
What we see in the fast of Christ was that even in His perfect humanity, He needed solitary preparation time in meditation and prayer for the task that lay ahead of Him.
What about us? Apart from hunger, what other feelings or conditions serve as points of entry for spiritual temptation? When we foresee a major testing heading our way, do we take time in solitude and communion with God in preparation of it? If we do, it has little power to harm us if we constantly trust in the Lord. We are warned to “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). Let us pray with the courage to live with such keen awareness.