I recently watched the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. The whole world was glued to see the inauguration ceremony held at United States Capitol Building in Washington DC. The estimated spend was over 200 million USD and attended by more 160,000 people. But when Jesus started his earthly ministry it was different.
Matt 3:16 – As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
Matt 4:1 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matt 4:17 – From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” NIV .
Here in the above verses, we find some fascinating truths about how Jesus began his ministry. Jesus was the son of the Most High God, and his sole purpose for coming into this world was to redeem humankind from the hands of the enemy (Acts 4:12). Though Jesus lived for 33 years on earth, his ministry spanned only three years. It was full of power, miracles and symbolised the Kingdom of God on earth. His ministry changed everything from how one prayed to God to how one received one’s Salvation.
The Divine Sequence
Jesus’ ministerial inauguration was unannounced and simple. It was nothing to be compared to the Presidential inauguration, But there was one thing in common – Jesus too had to win a major battle before he began his ministry. There was a divine sequence that took place before Jesus established his ministry on earth. It can be sweetly summarised as – ATM (Anointing, Temptation, and Ministry).
Divine Sequence – Anointing
Firstly, Jesus’ ministry started with the Anointing of the Holy Spirit. Without Anointing, there is no Ministry. It is a caution sign for all the children of God. None is to step out without the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t fight against flesh and blood but a bigger enemy (Eph 6:12). We cannot fight and win this battle alone. For fighting spiritual battles, we need spiritual weapons and spiritual strategies. Only the Holy Spirit teaches us how to wield our spiritual sword (the Word of God) correctly.
When we look at the life of many defeated Christians, it becomes evident that they had rushed into their battle without adequate ammunition, weapons and a winning strategy which only comes through “The Helper” – our blessed Holy Spirit. God wants us to win every of our battles, but we need to understand the truth that victory comes from the Lord (Pro 21:31). Holy Spirit alone dispenses all the blessings from both the Father and the Son.
Divine Sequence – Temptation
The Scriptures says that soon after Jesus was anointed, he was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. Jesus had to overcome trials and temptations just like any other human. Wilderness and Temptations separated his Anointing from his Ministry. Many of us love to do great things for God. We want to work signs and miracles just like Jesus did. But we don’t want to face our Wilderness. Without Mountains, there is no Ministry. Even though God called his children out of Egypt to possess the promised land, they had to go through wilderness and temptations possesses it. There was no shortcut. Likewise in our own lives, God has already given us the Promised Land but what separates us from receiving those promises is our inability and unpreparedness to face problems.
The Bible repeatedly says that God allows trials and temptations in our life to purify us and to reveal the quality of our faith in him. Ps 66:10 says that when God has tested, we come out like purified silver. The best part is that we are never allowed to be tempted more than we can endure (1 Cor 10:13). God knows our critical point. But when we overcome, we will get the crown of life. (James 1:2). God also gives the right to sit with him on the throne to the one who overcomes (Rev 3:21).
Divine Sequence – Ministry
After Jesus overcame the Devil, we read in the very same Chapter (Matt 4) that he began his ministry. What a great example our dear Lord Jesus Christ has left for us. Without the divine help of God, no one can overcome trials and without becoming mature in Christ through trials, no one can run a successful Christian race. It is important to understand this divine sequence – Spiritual ATM.
Finally, when God has blessed us with a ministry and as we serve God, there is nothing more important that to be continually filled by the Holy Spirit and be plugged-in to God 24X7. Wilderness is not a onetime stop. In our Christian walk, we may have to cross many desserts. We read in Luke 5:16 that Jesus often went to a lonely place to pray to his Father. That was his biggest secret to his successful ministry. When we never pull the plug and stay connected with our Father in heaven by the sweet communion of the Holy Spirit, no enemy can defeat us.