[Rev. Charles R. Brown in Congregationalist and Christian World.]

"Then," the narrative says—in the hour of wondrous uplift and quickened spiritual consciousness—"was Jesus led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." Right in the face of that open heaven, with the divine voice sounding in his ears and the mighty baptism of the Spirit possessing his soul, he was hurried away and for forty days he saw nothing but the desert and the devil and the wild beasts. "Forty days!" We are familiar with the use of that term "forty" in Scripture where the exact number was not known. We often say, "I have told you forty times"—meaning thereby an indefinite number of times.

"And he was there in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan." How long did this temptation of Jesus continue? His time of trial, too, was for an indefinite period. I have a feeling that the testing of his strength reached all the way to Calvary and the cross. He was tempted in all points and from all sides, "like as we are." He learned obedience by the things which he suffered. His ability to say, "Thy will, not mine, be done," in that supreme hour was an achievement rather than an original endowment. He faced and fought the enemies of the divine purpose not in one single dramatic hour, as a hasty reading of the lesson might indicate, but throughout his whole career, as he went forth to bear witness to the truth and to accomplish the will of Him who sent him.

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March 2, 1912

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