Our Trials, Suffering, and Pain, and How Jesus Overcame His Own

COPYRIGHT WARNING

Life is full of trials. If you have people in your life, at some point, they will hurt or disappoint you. If you live long enough on the earth, life will frequently become hard to handle. There are many trials to which we simply cannot stand up to. The reason that our moments of difficulties are so hard for us–is due to our lack of knowledge in understanding how to deal with these issues.

In David’s 91st Psalm, he graphically describes the future temptation of Jesus–by the devil, in the wilderness of Judea. In this example by Jesus–when He was suffering unimaginable mental stress and physical suffering in His body, we learn how to overcome our own suffering.

Psalms 91:11-12 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone

When Jesus came to earth, He came as a man. All of the same trials and difficulties of life that we have to endure–Jesus also had to endure, even though He was the Son of God. It is through the example of Jesus victory over trials and temptations, that we gain insight for ourselves, on how to overcome every obstacle. We also learn the reason that God allows suffering in our life, and the great purpose for those moments when our hearts are broken.

First, let us examine the text where Jesus was in the wilderness of Judea and had not eaten for 40 days. In His greatest moment of weakness, this is when the devil came to destroy His life and disqualify Him from completing His mission to be our Savior.

Luke 4:1-13 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.

Overcome every trial, by the word

It is interesting that satan describes Psalm 91:11-2 as a prophecy of the Messiah, written and fulfilled by Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. Jesus corrects the misuse of this verse and correctly defeats satan—by the word of God: “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.” The subtlety of this answer might be missed by the casual reader. By His response, Jesus is asserting His authority as the “LORD,” from the Old Testament; Jehovah/Yahweh.[1]

By Jesus example, we learn that satan is defeated by the word of God, not by intellect or power. This fallen being was once amongst the greatest of God’s creation. The knowledge that he has of us, is much greater than our knowledge of him and his ability to destroy our lives. We defeat the devil by the words of God and by His Spirit working in us.

As Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to fast and pray for forty days, satan comes to dissuade Him from drawing near to God and completing His purpose on earth.

Matthew 4:1-3 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.

When we examine this verse in the original Greek language, the manner in which satan says to Jesus, if You are the Son of God, is more accurately understood as, since You are the Son of God.

Ei Huios ei tou Theou

“Jesus since you are the Son of God just speak to these stones and turn them to bread.”

In the book of Job, the Lord asks Job where he was when God created the universe, in the presence of the angels—including Lucifer. The devil was there when Jesus spoke and the universe came into being.[2]

The devil is aware of the power that Jesus has to either create or destroy—by the words of His mouth.

At the return of Jesus to the Mount of Olives, He will go north to the Valley of Jezreel, where the antichrist will be waiting with the armies of the world. Jesus will simply speak and all the forces gathered to fight against Him will be destroyed in an instant. The blood from this carnage will be to the depth of a horses bridle, for nearly 200 miles along the Valley of Megiddo (Armageddon).[3]

See Prophecy 112 for details on the Battle of Armageddon.

When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus asks who they are seeking—the soldiers reply: “Jesus of Nazareth.” When Jesus answers “I AM,” the soldiers fall backwards as the words of the eternal God are spoken.[4]

See Prophecy 103 for details.

The devil knows, that although Jesus is the Eternal God, He is dwelling in the body of a man. He has not eaten for 40 days. He feels intense hunger. His body is greatly compromised and weakened. Like any man who is starving, Jesus is tempted to satisfy His hunger by using the power He possesses. We should remember that temptation is not sin. It is only when we give way to our temptations that our actions become sinful. Knowing what Jesus is feeling as a man, the devil taunts Him in this moment of great weakness.

We should understand that had Jesus used His power as God to satisfy His hunger, He would have been immediately disqualified from fulfilling the hundreds of prophecies which describe the Messiah as the servant of God, sent, to ensure the salvation of all mankind. Jesus was tired, He was weak, He was literally starving to death at this moment. The devil was well aware of the importance of this hour—in seeking to cause Jesus to fall and be disqualified as the Messiah. Later, Paul wrote that although Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things He suffered.[5]

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” [6]

Matthew describes Jesus’ coming into the wilderness of Judea. In certain areas of this wasteland, there are large stones. Perhaps satan knew that after Jesus has been without food for forty days, even the rocks began to look like loaves of hot-buttered bread.

Bread in the Wilderness[7]

See Prophecy 48 for details on this subject.

Jesus is the Creator of all things. If He were to speak only a word, any one of these stones could become bread. Mark records that Jesus took just seven loaves of bread and multiplied them into such great quantity that 5,000 people were fed.

Mark 8:6 So Jesus commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude (of 5,000).

Jesus was certainly able to satisfy His need for food if that was His desire. He was also aware that had He done so, He would fail in His mission to be the Savior of the world. It was necessary for the Messiah to be tempted in all points, as we are tempted—yet without sin. Having completed this test, Jesus is now qualified to be the Savior of all those who are also tempted.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Medical experts who have examined this narrative of Jesus’ forty-day fast, here in Matthew Chapter 4, describe the process that His body was going through:

Days 1-3 without food:

The human body is utilizing the remaining food contained within the intestines. It takes about three days for all digestible matter to be used and eliminated. During these first three days, a person would experience intense gut-wrenching hunger pains, headaches, body aches, even joint pains, as the digestive system is purging itself of all of the toxins that have been built up inside the body.[8]

Days 4-39 without food:

The body begins to feed on the fat, stored in the body.

After about four days without food, all hunger ceases. A person may not experience any desire for food at all. This can continue for another three weeks or so. Most people will not experience hunger until approximately the 40th day of a fast. Doctors say that at about 40 days, there is no longer any stored nutrients in the body, and a person will begin to die.[9]

As we find Jesus at the end of 40 days without food, He is literally dying…

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

We might ask why the Holy Spirit would lead Jesus into a desolate place where He would be tempted by satan to sin?

The word wilderness, here in verse 1, is not the wooded type of forest that is seen high in the mountains. The “wilderness” in Judea is desolate or barren, not a tree or a blade of grass—nothing but sand, rocks, and dirt.

Since the Father loves Jesus, why does He permit Him to go into this desolate land without food or water, only to be tormented by the devil?

This is a curious point of inquiry. Knowing that God loves all people—as evidenced by the giving of His Son—why does He allow us, experiences that are often desolate and difficult?

Acts 14:22 …“We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”

When the Lord was leading Israel through the desert for 40 years, the purpose of this journey was to prepare them for the good things that God intended in the future. The Lord is desiring to draw from out of the earth, a special group of people who will love and trust Him. They are referred to Him as “holy people,” meaning—“set apart” for Him. People who will choose to live in a righteous manner, with love as the foundation of their lives. Those who are willing to trust the Lord and desire to be His people—are called by Him; “a special treasure.”

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. 7 The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the LORD loves you

Why does the Lord permit us to suffer the difficulties of life? He loves us. Any father knows that he cannot give the son he loves—anything he asks for. Equally important: sometimes a father has to make the way difficult for his son—so that he learns by the struggle, to appreciate and value what comes later. Very often a son must be disciplined by suffering difficulties when he is wrong in his words or actions. By this chastisement, a son learns obedience—so that he might be able to navigate the perils and problems of life.

In Jesus case, although He was the Son of God, in the days of His flesh as a man, He had to learn this discipline—also by the things that He suffered.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the night He would be arrested and endure six trials—knowing what was coming, Jesus asked the Father to take away this cup of suffering from Him. Then in His response to the trial—Jesus confirmed that He would obedient to the Father; “not as I will, but as You will.”

Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”

Paul commented on the suffering of Jesus and the obedience which He learned—as a result of His suffering:

Hebrews 5:7-9 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.

Having completed the temptations of satan, having endured the suffering of the cross—Jesus was made perfect as the sacrifice that was necessary for our salvation. Had Jesus failed in even the slightest regard, He would have been instantly disqualified as the Messiah, and would not be able to save anyone. The task before Jesus was immense. The fact that He lived amongst us as a human being and experienced every trial and temptation that all other men will go through—yet without sin—is truly remarkable.

Our example of suffering and the good things that can come from these moments of trial, are observed from the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy. God reminded the people of Israel that it was through their times of suffering that God had led them—to humble and allow them the test of their own hearts and wills, so that they could know what was in their hearts—either to love and trust the Lord, or fall away and miss all that He wanted to do for them.

Deuteronomy 8:2 And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.

Since the Father really cares about us, suffering and trials will be a big part of our life. When we suffer, we should remember that it is because we are His sons and daughters that we are experiencing such things. If we are His, then He will keep us and sustain us through every difficulty and bring us through the trial—to the other side, where we will experience the good things He has prepared for those who love Him.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.

A practical illustration:

Many years ago, fishermen on the East coast had begun to ship their frozen Cod to all parts of the world. They found out early in the process that there was a problem.

During the process of freezing the Cod, they lost all of their wonderful flavor.

The shipper came up with a great idea: Ship the Cod live in tanks of saltwater. The fish arrived at their destination in great shape, but their meat had become soft and spongy.

A new plan was formulated where a Catfish would be placed into the tank with the Cod. The Catfish—being very territorial—chased the poor Cod all over the tank, right up until the moment they arrived at their destination.

As a result of being chased by the Catfish for the entire journey—when the Cod arrived, their meat was firm and fresh, and had maintained the wonderful flavor that they were famous for.[10]

The lesson of this illustration is: you might be going through a terrible trial; but when you get where you’re going, you will be delicious.

Of course, I am being facetious.

Sometimes, it is necessary for the Lord to allow a “Catfish” to come into our life in order to chase us a little. If He didn’t, we would just sit around and get mushy. However, the Lord does not allow us to be tested beyond what we are able to bear. He knows just how much we can take before we would give up.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

When we are going through these times of testing, Jesus promised that He would be with us and never leave us.

Hebrews 13:5 For Jesus Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

On January 28, 2006, my dear wife went home to be with the Lord. It was a time of unbearable sorrow and loss. Even so, I had the confidence of knowing that this was the Lord’s plan for her as well as myself. I had no other choice but to trust Him and release my best friend into the Lord’s hands. I was looking into her eyes and holding her hand when she took her last breath. I saw how graciously and tenderly the Father took her by the hand and lifted her out of her pain and suffering and made her perfect.

It was one of the greatest moments that I have ever experienced in my life, to see the one whom I loved the most be taken by my Father and be made perfect. I will never forget what it was like to watch my wife leave this earth and go home. Her departure gave me confidence in my own future departure. Realizing that the day of our death is more important than the day of our birth.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 …the day you die is better than the day you are born.

From that day forward, I have looked with great anticipation towards my own departure to be with the Lord.

Today (eight years later), I am married to an incredible woman who loves me without limits and strengthens me in all my work for the Lord. Her love and encouragement are amongst the chief reasons why I was able to finally write this book.

Even when we are greatly tempted and feel tremendous suffering and loss, the Lord is faithful. Jesus endured the suffering of His temptation in the wilderness, the taunts and terrible anguish brought upon Him by satan, and He never failed. He is with each one of us today, and having been tempted Himself—He is able to help us when we also go through our own trials.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Jesus showed us by His trial of forty days, that our times of testing—serve a great purpose: to prepare us for a greater revelation of God and the development of deeper character within us. These are benefits that we could ever experience without these trials.

This is why Jesus came to earth: To live as a man and go through all of the trials that we will go through in our own life; while remaining faithful and trusting in God’s will and purpose for His life. Although Jesus suffered tremendously, in time, all of His trials came to an end. In the same way, we should remember that our present suffering will last only for a moment, while our life with the Lord in heaven will last forever. We should not give up nor forsake the Lord when everything around us is difficult and full of pain. All of these trials are temporary, but the glory that we will behold in the presence of the Lord will make these present sufferings seem small and insignificant.

Knowing that trials have a good purpose

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Knowing ahead of time that this testing will produce in us, qualities that will someday make us perfect, we can count it all joy.

There is no joy in the trial itself. The joy comes by confidence in the end results of the trial. By our suffering, we will be brought into a place of revelation of God’s word and His purpose for our life—unattainable by any other means.

Jesus faced the horrors of the cross and His own death with Joy. He was able to do this because He saw the end result: our lives being redeemed, and all of us standing together with Him in heaven, worshipping and praising Him for His great love.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (Jesus), who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame

In this 133rd Old Testament Prophecy, we see Jesus during one of the most difficult and severely tested moments of His life, finishing victoriously. Jesus fulfilled the words of Psalms 91:11-12, bearing up under the pressure of satan’s attempts at causing Him to fail. Jesus overcame the devil and His difficulties by the word of God. The power of that word was fulfilled in His obedience to the will of the Father.

Matthew 4:3-4 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “Since You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Notice satan’s name: “the tempter.” This is what he does; this is what he is good at. He studies you to see what your weaknesses are. It was when Jesus was at His weakest point as a man, that satan came to tempt Him. We see from the account of Job, that satan studies us to discover our weakened moments.

Job 1:8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

The Hebrew word used here in Job Chapter 1 for considered is Leb, which means “to search out the heart; study the feelings, the will, and the intellect.”[11] This is a Hebrew term that would be used by a General who is studying the weaknesses of his enemy.

The Lord is asking satan if he has closely studied Job. We have an enemy who carefully observes us and plans his attack at an opportune time—during our moments of weakness.

It is in those areas that you are most vulnerable—where the enemy will come to tempt you. Lack of sleep, miss a meal, have a difficult day—these are moments of vulnerability. The enemy is aware of the areas where we are subject to temptation, and it is from these places of weakness that his attacks are mounted.

Prophecy 133 predicts that the Messiah will be tempted in His suffering. Psalms 91:11-12 was written for this precise moment, during Jesus’ forty days of fasting. It is truly incredible when we consider that this prediction was written nearly one thousand years before Jesus was born, yet it vividly describes the exact event that occurred in the New Testament, Matthew 4:1-3.


NOTES:

[1] Strong’s Hebrew Concordance #3068, yahweh, Whenever the term: “LORD,” is observed in the Old Testament scriptures, it is “Jehovah,” or “Yahweh.”

[2] Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Colossians 1:16 For by Jesus all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.

[3] Revelation 16:16 And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

Revelation 19:11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

Revelation 19:15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword…

Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

Revelation 19:21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Revelation 14:20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs.

[4] John 18:6 Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

[5] Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

[6] Matthew 4:1-2

[7] Graphic Image by Rob Robinson

[8] Shelton, Herbert, The Science and Fine Art of Fasting, American Natural Hygiene Society, Incorporate; 5th edition (August 1978)

[9] Ibid.

[10] The original source of this story is unknown. It came from my personal study note from many years ago. If you know the author of this story, please contact me at: 365Prophecies@gmail.com and I will give proper attribution to the author.

[11] The Hebrew lexicon is Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Lexicon; this is keyed to the “Theological Word Book of the Old Testament.” These files are considered public domain.

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