"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." (Matthew 4:1)
There’s a common phrase that we hear often during campaign season. Challenger candidates who are running to unseat an incumbent will speak often of what they promise to accomplish in their “first 100 days” in office.
“I promise the voters that in my first 100 days in office I’ll sign an executive order ending _____." Fill in the blank. Repeal this, replace that, overturn this, eliminate that.
Those things that they promise to fix are always the problems of the previous administration that they see as it’s most egregious failures.
That’s actually what’s going on in Matthew 4:1 as soon as Jesus comes from being baptized in the River Jordan. His baptism is his inauguration as the “second Adam”. And, he’s come to fix Adam’s most egregious failures. Still dripping with the waters from his baptism. Matthew tells us, “ Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Notice that it doesn’t say that the temptation from Satan just coincidentally happened while he was in the wilderness. Rather, it says that he went into the wilderness to be tempted. In other words, Jesus went into the wilderness for the express purpose of being tempted by Satan.
So that he can pass the test in the wilderness that Adam failed in the garden.
In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve were surrounded by lush and plenty. It was a literal paradise. Yet, in that paradise they believed the lie of the serpent. They believed the lie that God was not good and that true happiness was to be found outside of God’s perfect provision.
Fast forward to Matthew 4 and here’s Jesus not in the lush paradise of Eden but, in the wilderness. He is surrounded by the desert dry nothingness that Adam and Eve’s sin earned them (and us)! He’s gone into the desert to pass a test in agony and aloneness that Adam and Eve failed in comfort and companionship. But there’s another difference, while temptation found Adam and Eve- Jesus was led by the Spirit toward temptation.
Adam’s guilt has been passed down to us. And, we’ve built on that guilt a record of our own sins. We’ve not improved our situation. We were born into a crime family and we’ve continued in the family business of rebelling against God. We don’t need to improve or get better. We need a new identity. A new patriarch. Adam’s guilt was imputed to us. We need a patriarch who can impute their righteousness to us.
That dear Christian is the beauty and glory of the doctrine of Christ as the second Adam. Like a newly elected president, he is swift to go about the business of repealing and replacing all the wickedness of the previous Adamic administration. He doesn’t take 100 days to do it. Rather, he fulfills his work in the first 40 days.
Jesus is better than all the politicians. He fulfills all his campaign promises. In fact, he’s willing to die to complete His work of redemption. You might say, like the Apostle Paul, that he’s obedient to the point of death.
So, fast forward 3 years and this new would-be King is hanging and dead on a Roman cross. His campaign staff has scattered and it appears that his candidacy is a bust. But, the campaign isn’t actually over. After three days in the tomb, he’s resurrected. And in doing so God the Father is announcing to the world. I’m God the Father, and I approve of this message.
"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:20-22"
This American election season it is easy to grow weary over the bickering and posturing of those running for office and those defending their offices. But, our hope is not in better rulers and authorities. Our Hope is in Him who has already triumphed over all rulers and authorities and put them to open shame by triumphing over them by his Cross.