Jesus was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit he had received at his baptism. There, installation of the Sonship platform began. Sonship would be the basis of all his earthly operation from this point forward. To know the Father and to reveal Him would be the purpose of the Son’s existence.
In the wilderness, Jesus was meditating on the decree he had heard directly from the Father, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” Alongside came the Adversary. His goal was to bring into question that which Jesus had heard and abort the installation of the Sonship platform.
In this context and elsewhere, scripture describes Satan as “the tempter”. The greek word used for “tempter” literally means “one who tries a subject for the purpose of ascertaining the subject’s quantity or measure; ascertaining what he thinks or how he will behave himself.”
The hook that Satan attempts to set in Jesus is the function of human nature independent of God. He had successfully manipulated it in the First Adam; now he sets his sights on accomplishing the same in the Last Adam. The Tempter had to get Jesus to forsake the Life of the Spirit and operate according to his own natural life. Preserve himself. Provide for himself. Protect himself.
What was it that Satan was really after? His opening words reveal his goal…………”If you be the Son of God…….”
For 40 days, Jesus had been in the wilderness contemplating the affirmation of Sonship spoken by Father. He had been fasting. He had been praying. He had installed the operating platform of Sonship and he had clicked the icon of “Priesthood Program” which runs on the basis of Sonship.
Let’s back up just a bit and see if some things can help us make sense out of this. Remember, at the age of 12, Jesus stays in the temple at Jerusalem listening and and asking questions of the religious leaders. After three days, Joseph and Mary finally find him and ask him why he had done such a thing. His reply, “I must be about my Father’s business.”
Jesus was of the age when a young Jewish boy would begin to be apprenticed in his father’s business. From that tender age up until 30 years of age, the son would learn and work under the watchful eye of the father. When the time came, the father would bring the son forward and present his son to all concerned and present the son as the one who would take over the family business. In essence, the father would set the son forward to handle the business affairs.
Jesus was approximately 30 years of age when he comes to his baptism. The Father presents the Son through the voice heard from heaven, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
30 was also the age when Jewish men would begin their training for priesthood. As the Firstborn/Only Begotten Son, Jesus also received what was known as the First Born Rights. These rights gave the eldest son in the family several rights. 1.) He became Priest of the family. 2.) He was Lord over his siblings. 3.) He received a double portion of the father’s inheritance.
So, the main program that functions on the operating platform of Sonship is the Priesthood Program! Very simply, Priesthood is the ministry that allows us to have direct access to God, have intimate fellowship with Him, come to learn/know His heart and seek Him for His will and purposes.
Notice the Tempter’s approach. “If you be the Son of God….” Each of the temptations he presents to Jesus in the wilderness is an attempt to put a glitch in the operating platform of Sonship and the Priesthood Program. What would Jesus rely upon? How would he conduct himself when given seemingly reasonable options?
Here you go:
“If you be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.”
In the natural, Jesus was undoubtedly hungry! If it isn’t enough to realize that a man would be hungry after fasting 40 days, the scripture clearly tells us that “and when they were ended (40 days), he hungered.”
Rather than engaging his own ability, Jesus denies his own preservation and responds, “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but every word of God.”
There is so much truth here, we could go for hours. But to stay in our point, Priests did not “work” or produce their own bread. They were allowed to eat the bread given by the people for the sustaining of the priesthood and the function of the Tabernacle.
Satan takes Jesus to a high mountain. There, he shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in moment of time. “All this power will I give you and the glory of them; for that is delivered to me and I can give it to whomsoever I will.”
Satan is speaking to the fulfillment of Jesus’ purpose and destiny. He wanted to see if Jesus would accomplish the end (rule and reign over all the kingdoms) by using a different means other than God’s plan.
All Jesus had to do in order to receive all authority over all the kingdoms of this world was, “Worship me, all will be yours.”
Notice, Jesus did not argue the point that all the kingdoms of this world were under Satan’s power. Truly, the First Adam had yielded the dominion given to him over to Satan. Rather, his response was, “Get behind me, Satan; for it is written, You will worship the Lord your God, and him only will you serve.”
Again, priests worshiped God and served Him in the Tabernacle.
Satan takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem. “If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down from here. For it is written, He will give His angels charge over you, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.”
Jesus answered, “It is said, You will not tempt the Lord your God.”
Two things. 1.) Priests functioned and operated in the Temple. 2.) The scripture which Satan uses against Jesus to entice him to prove his Sonship is located in Psalm 91. That particular Psalm begins with, “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” It is known as the High Priestly Psalm and is referring to the High Priest who is operating in the Holy of Holies in proximity to the Ark of the Covenant. Priesthood!
To clarify the point of all this, Jesus wasn’t just wandering around in the wilderness for 40 days. He was accomplishing the denial of operating according to the flesh and installing the platform of Sonship. The Spirit of Sonship allowed Jesus (and allows us) to function in Priesthood before Father. The Tempter came to determine how Jesus would truly conduct himself.
Jesus’ real ministry (as is ours) was always God-ward first as a Priest. That is where Father’s heart is revealed and imparted. In the function of Priesthood the life, power and grace is extended to live as a Son and fulfill Father’s purposes in the earth!