Jesus went into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil after being baptized by his cousin, John. He had come out of the water and heard his Father speak from the heavens above, “this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
What a mountaintop experience! The Holy Spirit descending to him like a dove. Supernatural voice speaking from the heavens. His Father “owning” him before mankind. Then he faces the devil.
After forty days of fasting, Jesus is unquestionably hungry and the enemy comes to attack him at his weakest. Tempting Jesus would be easy at this point, hungry and lonely. The devil offers him to pick up his divinity he had poured out to become a man. He tempts him to turn a stone into bread, to show his special status as the Son of God by jumping off the temple and to bow down and worship the devil to shortcut his journey to be Lord over the earth.
But the heart of these temptations are not just about the acts themselves. The devil frames his temptation by saying “if you are the Son of God.” IF. Two letters but with so much power. The enemy was attacking Jesus’ status as a Son. His identity. He wanted to cause Jesus to doubt his identity. He knew that if he could get him to doubt who he was, he could shake his confidence and trust in the Father.
This is why it was so important for the Father to put on such a display before at Jesus’ baptism. He displayed Jesus for all the world to see as his Son. He wanted Jesus to face the enemy armed with the truth of his identity without a doubt.
You and I don’t have the luxury of having God speak out of the heavens to declare us his children, but He has declared us his children through his own Son’s sacrifice and through his word. You and I face this same temptation every day as the enemy and the world and our flesh tries to define us. We are tempted to give in to what these have to say about us and live out their definition and destiny rather than God’s.
We must be like Jesus though and lean back and listen to our Father’s declaration over us. Let it be the sound we listen to when the world speaks another identity. We cannot let this be stolen from us. We need it for without it, we will be lost in the wilderness.