"Emmanuel: God With Us"


24 Anointed

by Hubert F. Sturges, www.everlastingcovenant.com, December 2013

The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him Acts 10:36-38

Old Testament prophecies showed that the Messiah, the Anointed One, would appear at the end of the sixty-ninth week of the seventy week prophecy (Dan. 9:25). Jesus’ coming was the fulfillment of the everlasting covenant of God. The people knew about the prophecy of Daniel and knew that the time was near. There was a general expectation of the Messiah’s advent.

At the Jordan, Jesus was anointed at His baptism by His Father’s voice from heaven, ”This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17; Acts 4:27), and by the Holy Spirit alighting on Him as a dove (Acts 10:38). John confirmed His anointing by the announcement, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) and by the two disciples who began to follow Him. The Father made His mission clear as they communed in the wilderness, and Satan tested that mission through his temptations.


The Fullness of Time

As Jesus worked in the carpenter shop, He thought about the past eighteen years. He had learned much during His visit to the Temple when He was twelve. He always knew that God was His Father. He learned more of what that meant as He observed the Passover festival. By remembering the prophecies of the Messiah and observing the sacrifices, Jesus learned that He came to die. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” (Dan. 9:27). “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Gal. 4:4). He remembered Daniel 9:27. He could not get that verse out of His mind. That time had to be now! That prophetic “week” had started. We can imagine the scene at the carpenter’s shop.

Brother James came bustling in. “Have you got that chair finished yet, Jesus?”

“I’m almost finished, James. I just need to sand down a few rough spots. This is for Julius, the centurion, and you know how picky he is.”

“Good job, Jesus.” James inspected Jesus’ work. “Everyone has heard about John, your cousin. He is preaching down at the Jordan. I hear he does not mince words when he talks about sin. Even priests, rabbis, and Roman soldiers are going out to hear him. He baptizes those who believe, as a sign of their beginning a new life.”

They worked in silence for some time. The carpenter shop had provided a decent income for the family. Since their father Joseph had died, the sons--Jesus, James, and Joseph--had continued the family business. The people in Nazareth had come to expect quality workmanship from them.

James took a short break and then spoke what was running through his mind. “The people believe John might be the Messiah himself, or maybe Elijah or the prophet who is to come. John denies it but says he is a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord and to make his paths straight.1

Brother Joseph frowned and kept on working. His younger brothers did entirely too much talking.

Jesus turned and faced His brothers, “Joseph and James, I must speak. The time has come, and I must be about my Father’s business. I am going to the Jordan to see John.”

“You’ve finished that chair, so go ahead and take a break. But, why are you so serious today? You are coming back, right? We have more work than we can handle, and we get a decent living for this work. You won’t find a better job anywhere else.”

Jesus said no more as He quietly hung up His carpenter’s apron and walked out the door.


Baptism at the Jordan

Jesus traveled for two days. It was hot and dusty, and it was refreshing to see the Jordan valley with the river, the trees, and the green fields nearby. In the distance, He could see a crowd and a rustically dressed man speaking to them. The man’s voice carried well, and Jesus could hear him clearly. The crowd listened attentively.

As Jesus came closer, He could hear him say, "but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Luke 3:16).

As Jesus reached the edge of the river, John suddenly looked up and, with a loud voice, said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Everyone turned and stared. All they saw was an ordinary man, tired and dusty from His travel. He was nothing much to look at, like a root pulled up out of the ground (Isa. 53:2).

Jesus returned the next day. “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him” (Matt. 3:13). As they stood by the water’s edge, John shook his head. “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” (Matt. 3:14). Jesus quietly said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” John consented (Matt. 3:15, NIV).

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt. 3:16, 17)

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21, 22, NIV)

This anointing of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18, 19) marked the beginning of Jesus’ ministry and the beginning of the week of years prophesied in Daniel 9:27. In the midst of that week, Jesus would take the sins of the world on Himself, becoming sin for humankind. His baptism symbolized the death of the “man of sin” and would serve as an example to His followers throughout history. Jesus also received the testimony of John the Baptist and the testimony of His heavenly Father. The next day two men joined Him as His first disciples (John 1:35-37). Jesus needed this confirmation, for His faith would soon be tested.

Jesus and John conversed as they had time. It was a pleasant visit between cousins who had much in common. John said, “Jesus, you are the Messiah, the hope of Israel. Why do you not work with me here? Together, we could do much more than either of us alone.”

“Thank you John, I know you are asking that out of love. Yet, I cannot stay. I must seek the Father to realize His will.” With that, Jesus took leave of John and of His two new disciples and walked to the nearby wilderness.


Forty Days in the Wilderness

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matt. 4:1). When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, the temptations were the same as those that confronted Adam and Eve in Eden. Jesus met the devil at every turn while on earth, but He never sought him out. Matthew 4:1 describes what happened not Jesus’ purpose in going into the wilderness.

Moses was in the mount with God forty days and forty nights with neither food nor water when God gave Moses the law written on tables of stone (Exod. 34:28). Jesus also fasted forty days in the wilderness. Moses led Israel at the beginning of their formation as a nation. Jesus now came to lead Israel in completing the holy work He gave them to do. Jesus came to establish the kingdom of grace and confirm the covenant with many, and He came to bring “an end of sins,” “to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness,” the object of an everlasting covenant (Dan. 9:24).

Jesus fasted forty days praying and communing with the Father. During His ministry, Jesus was active in His prayer life (Luke 6:12). He went often to pray in the mountain. Sometimes He would spend the night there in prayer.

How can a person pray for forty days, or even all night? Most of us have a hard time praying for ten minutes. Jesus was not new to prayer. He had been praying all His life. A large part of His prayers consisted of praise for what God had done. He also spent time in prayer meditating and listening for the still small voice of His Father. Jesus’ life was so focused on the will of His Father and their purposes so closely intertwined that they needed this time of fellowship together. Jesus’ prayers refreshed and strengthened Him for whatever might occur during the day. As a prophet, He received practical information from the Father for His ministry.

Jesus is the Christian’s example. We may not be called to fast and pray for forty days, but can we not spend an hour a day in prayer? What would this do for you, for the church, for the world? We now draw the curtain over this precious time Jesus spent with the Father. After forty days in the wilderness, it was time for Jesus to begin His work. It was time that He confront the enemy.


Confrontation in the Wilderness

After forty days, Jesus felt dry and weak. He looked around. There was no food in the wilderness. As He sat there thinking, an angel appeared. The angel’s face was cunning and loveless. “God sent me to help you. Your fast is at an end.” His eyes shifting from one rock to another, never looking Jesus full in the face, the angel said, “If you are the son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

Jesus was appalled. How could an angel, so quickly forget God’s confirming words, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17)? Had the Holy Spirit not given witness to His identity, resting on Jesus in the form of dove? Had this angel not witnessed this sign when even non-angels had recognized His mission? John and His two new disciples recognized His divinity. Jesus thought to Himself, "This can be none other than a fallen angel, or the devil himself."

Jesus’ answer was terse, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus refused to perform a miracle to satisfy His own hunger or to prove His divinity to a doubter. He came to earth as a human, and as a human He must live.

The “angel” took Him to a pinnacle of the Temple. Now exposed for who he was, the devil said, “You are wise. You must do the will of God. Your ministry is just beginning. The people must know who you are. If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, “˜He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone’ (Matt. 4:6; cf. Ps. 91:11, 12).” He continued, “The people seek a sign. This miracle would show them that you are the Messiah, and many people will believe!”

Satan had used Jesus’ method in quoting Scripture, but he left out the part of the verse that says “to keep thee in all thy ways.” God had already testified that Jesus was His beloved Son. If Jesus asked for another proof, He would be denying what God had already said. Jesus refused to force God to come to His rescue. Instead, He responded, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

The devil was not through. Taking Him up into a high mountain, he made the kingdoms of the earth pass before Him in review. He represented the best the world had to offer and said:

All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:6-8)

Satan was offering Him an easy way to obtain power and glory. The easy way would not eradicate sin from people’s lives or restore the image of God in them. Rather, sin would become a permanent blot on the perfection of God’s creation. Jesus knew that His mission could be fulfilled only through suffering. Before Him lay a life of sorrow, hardship, and conflict. He would die a sacrifice on the cross, bearing the sins of the whole world. Jesus turned the devil’s offer down flat. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” He declared, “for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Luke 4:8).

This was Jesus’ first substantial victory over Satan.


Triggers of Temptation

Jesus lived on this earth as a human being, and He had the same appetites as all human beings. It is through these normal human drives that Satan tempts people to sin. When Jesus lived on earth, He laid aside His divine prerogatives and lived as a human (Phil. 2:5-8), depending wholly on God, the Father, for His work (John 5:30; 8:28; 14:10). The life He lived is an example to us of what we can do, through grace.

Jesus had reason to be tempted on appetite while Eve did not. Satan tempted Him to begin His ministry by a spectacular sign of divine power. It would make Him “look good.” Finally, Satan offered to make things easy, he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of this world if only Jesus would worship him. In these three temptations, Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15).

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification], and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one’s own resources or in the stability of earthly things]-these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself]. (1 John 2:16, AMP)

Jesus refused to doubt the testimony of the Father. When Satan said, “If,” Jesus knew it was not an angel of God but was Satan himself. When he offered the kingdoms of the world, Jesus knew that Satan was a deceiver and a usurper. He had gained rulership of the earth through intrigue. Jesus came to reclaim those kingdoms, but not the easy way. The time would come when even the devil would bow the knee and confess that Jesus is Lord!2

Jesus answered each temptation with a firm statement from Scripture”-It is written.” He climaxed the third temptation by a direct command, which He forced Satan to obey, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” Jesus faced the devil precisely where Adam and Eve had failed. He won a crucial victory for humankind, under the most difficult of circumstances. Ahead of Him were His life and ministry and His sacrifice on the cross. Scripture says that temptations can be broken down into three classes, as the comparison below reveals:

Temptations Eden (Gen. 3:6) Wilderness (Matt. 4:2-11 1 John 2:15
Appetite Good for food  Make these stones to be Bread Lust of the Flesh
Greed Pleasant to the Eyes Cast Thyself Down Lust of the Eyes
Power Wisdom without Effort The world on a silver platter Pride ofLife

One can understand the temptation on appetite. The Amplified Bible describes this as “the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification].” Appetite is a general term for the normal desires of the body. Only when a person wrongly yields to appetite is it sin.

To see sin in the appearance of temptation is not easy. It requires discrimination and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Amplified Bible presents this as “the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind].” With Jesus in the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus to demonstrate His divinity to announce His ministry. By a miracle, Satan was saying, He could gain the attention of the people. Yet, Jesus came to live as a human being. He never performed a miracle to satisfy curiosity, to prove His divinity, or to protect Himself. Jesus’ miracles were always practical and for others.

Satan offered Jesus the power and glory of this world if Jesus would worship him. It was an easy way out. Satan promises wisdom without effort and fame without substance--all for the very low payment of worshipping a false god instead of the true. To yield to this temptation would be to abandon the human race to sin, slavery, and the oppression of Satan and to leave a permanent blot on the universe of God. Jesus came to this world, not for riches or military honor, but to change people’s lives. He came to restore in human beings the image of God. The only wisdom that Jesus accepted was wisdom from the Word of God. He answered every temptation with, “It is written.”


Endnotes

1. Texts on the voice of one crying in the wilderness are Isaiah 40:3-5; Matthew 3:3; and John 1:23.

2. Texts on every knee bowing before Jesus are Isaiah 45:23; Matthew 28:18; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:9-11; and Revelation 5:13.