Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. — Matthew 4:1
The event that Jesus just finished with was his baptism. And what an incredible “cloud of witnesses” showed up to be part of his special day.
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17, ESV).
What an incredible event, followed by a horrifically and horribly painful forty days as Jesus was tempted by the Devil. And the key point to notice in this is right in Matthew 4:1 – “Then Jesus was let up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted…”
You see, this was not a “chance” meeting between Jesus and Satan. This wasn’t Satan luring Jesus away from the baptism to meet him unknowingly in the desert to be tempted. Rather, Jesus was led up by the Spirit. This was all in the plan of God.
But how can this be? I see a main reason as being this: Jesus can now relate with us in temptation, for he has been tempted in every way yet was without sin. Jesus experienced a mountain top experience as he went down into the water. He then experienced the valley floor as we he was led up by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil.
The key to remember in all of it is this: whether you’re in a mountain top experience moment right now, or you’re scraping you belly along the floor of the valley, God is the God of all of it. Mountain tops. Valleys. God is the good of them all.