Led by the Spirit

John Koedyker

Read: Mark 1:12-13

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt. 4:1)

Like yesterday, today’s reading may seem a bit unusual at first. After Jesus is baptized, he is led (Matthew) or driven (Mark) into the desert to be tempted. Really? You would think that the Holy Spirit would comfort Jesus and encourage him. After all, aren’t we told that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23)? Isn’t the Spirit called the “Comforter” (Jn. 14:16, KJV)?

He is that. But from these verses it seems that the Holy Spirit can also lead us into some trying situations. Here we see that the Spirit can lead us to challenging places not to ruin us but to make us stronger. Certainly Jesus emerged from his temptations committed to God’s calling upon his life. It is true that our Lord uses all kinds of things—good and bad—in our lives to mold us and make us more like him. And he never abandons us. In this case, he sent his angels to help his Son.

The apostle Paul wrote: “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). That is one of my favorite verses, one that assures us that our loving God is always in control and will work things out for our good. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, assure us of your presence and your protection as we undergo all kinds of difficulties, problems, and challenges in life. Amen.