>>We all have all
have our wilderness. We think our temptation
is too much to handle. We give into sin and feel alone. Jesus knows our weakness. He stood face-to-face with
Satan and through the struggle, he stood up and said: “No.”>>Barry, in this episode,
we want to talk about Jesus and his baptism and his
temptation in the wilderness. Now, we have both of those
events recorded for us in Matthew, in Matthew chapter
three, we have the baptism by John down by the Jordan. And then in chapter four,
Jesus is led up by the spirit into the wilderness to
be tempted by the devil. What we want to do is we want to
go to places that would be close to where Jesus was baptized
and wear Jesus would have gone into the wilderness to be
tempted for those 40 days. What are our options
to be able to see that?>>Well with regards
to the baptism, there’s actually a couple
places where we’re going to go.>>Okay.>>I want to first
take you to Yardenit, which is a site just south
of the Sea of Galilee. We want to go here because
the Jordan River is much more attractive there. It looks much more like what it
would have looked like down here at the traditional
baptismal site. The second location
that we will also visit, and this is the more
traditional location. We hear about John
the Baptist baptizing at Bethany beyond the Jordan, and it would have
been in this area. So this is the better place for where Jesus would
have been baptized.>>In Matthew chapter four,
when Matthew records for us that after the baptism,
the spirit led him into the wilderness, what wilderness are
we able to go see?>>Well we’re going
to be looking at the wilderness of Judea. And this was most
likely the location where he was during this time.>>When I picture wilderness,
I picture something barren, desolate, large sand dunes,
people aren’t around for miles. I mean is that what we’re
going to go look at?>>Well, you’re partially
correct. It is very dry. It is very barren. But it has mountains
and valleys. It’s actually in my opinion one of the prettiest places
in the entire land.>>I just — I have a hard
time visualizing that. And what you’re describing
is beautiful. I can’t wait to go and
see that for myself. We’re standing on
the Jordan River. Where exactly are we?>>We’re at a site
called Yardenit. It’s just south of
the Sea of Galilee. A number of people use this
where they come to be baptized.>>Why are we coming to this
spot on the Jordan River as opposed to closer to
the Judean wilderness?>>And where the
traditional baptismal site is. Well that’s because
the Jordan River for the most part is a
boundary between two countries. It’s between the
countries of Israel, the West Bank and Jordan. And so that areas politically
and militarily sensitive.>>And comparing the two
places, you’ve explained that the water level
here is higher. The river is a little bit wider,
but when you get further south, it’s lower, it’s narrower than
even it was during Jesus’ time. Why is that?>>Mostly it’s just because of
the population growth in Israel and the West Bank and in Jordan, the population has
grown significantly over the last 100 years,
and they need that water. They need it for agriculture. They need it to water
their cattle. They need it for consumption. Because of that, water is not
making it into the tributaries, which lead to the Jordan River. So by the time the river
flows all the way from here to the Dead Sea,
it’s just much lower and the flow is much slower. When we get down there, you’ll
notice that it’s probably 12 or 15 feet wide at the widest. During Jesus’ time, it
was at least this wide, if not maybe a little bit wider.>>So where in the New
Testament do we read about Jesus being
at the Jordan River?>>Well it’s referred
to a number of times. In Matthew of course, he tells
us that Jesus left Galilee and went down to the south
to Jordan to be baptized. But in Luke Three we read: “Now when all the
people were baptized and when Jesus also had
been baptized and praying, the heavens were opened and the
Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven. ‘You are my beloved son. With you, I am well pleased.;”>>So what Luke records for us
is Jesus traveling from up here in the Galilee region down to
his cousin John the Baptist. He’s preparing the way
for the kingdom of God. And Jesus comes to
him to be baptized. Now there are several things
that John says as he interacts with Jesus at that point. And one of them is, I need
to be baptized by you. What are you doing coming to me?>>Right.>>And Jesus explains
that he needs to fulfill all righteousness. And John consents
and baptizes him. And both in Matthew’s
account and here in Luke, we have this spirit
descending on him like a dove verifying
something for John. I mean, he was looking for
that event to confirm something about the identity of Jesus.>>That’s right.>>This wasn’t just his cousin. This was someone special. At one point John looks at him
and says: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the
sins of the world.>>That’s right.>>That baptism marked
a pivotal moment, which is just amazing
to visualize. There would’ve been crowds
of people all the way around as people were trying
to get to John as he’s speaking to them, as he’s baptizing them. So all these people would
have watched this event unfold as he baptized Jesus
from Nazareth. Now we’re going to go
further south closer to the traditional site where
he would have been baptized by John.>>That’s right. That site is about 60
miles south of here, just north of the Dead Sea.>>With talking to some of our
sources, they encouraged us to go in with a smaller
footprint.>>That’s right. That location is on a
boundary and it’s also in a militarily controlled zone.>>So we’re still allowed to go?>>Sure.>>It’s just — it’s
going to be different than what we’ve been
doing so far.>>Okay.>>Yeah, now it should
pick you both up.>>Okay.>>This front button
is the power button, but it’s on right now. It’s got a full battery. And it’s — we’re going to –>>It’s on time lapse though –>>Yeah, we’re going to
change the recording, but. All you have to do is
push that top button.>>It will start recording. Okay.>>The whole drive down,
they’ve been talking about the complicated nature
of the political situation and the religious
situation and all of that. It’s sensitive and it’s delicate
and you need to be respectful. Let’s see — We are
— So we’re recording. The guy’s just gave me a brief
tutorial on using the GoPro. We’re at the southern
baptismal site.>>We are.>>And we’re holding a
GoPro, which we have not done at all during any
of these episodes. So why are we doing?>>Well, we’re doing this because this is a military
location and so we want to be respectful of that.>>Yeah.>>We’ve left a number of our
bigger cameras in the bus. Basically we look like tourists. So –>>I can do that.>>It’s very hot down here. We’re down at the bottom
of the Jordan Rift Valley.>>Yeah.>>And it’s probably close
to a hundred degrees today. It’s very warm.>>It’s warm. I mean, we’ve got
this fence behind us. We’ve got this danger mine
sign on the fence behind us. Obviously they haven’t
totally cleared that area. And we’re at a tourist stop.>>We are.>>So we’ve seen this
a couple of times.>>Yeah.>>Let’s head on
down to the water.>>Okay.>>Okay. So we’re going
to step down several steps to get close to the railing. So we’re coming up on the
Jordan River, which we said up north looks different
than what we saw. Tell us what we’re seeing.>>Alright what we’ve got here
is the Jordan River behind us as we’ve mentioned. The Jordan River is
much smaller here ->>Very stagnant.>>– very stagnant,
barely flowing at all. They will have at the
end of the rainy seasons, they’ll have water
come through here — — but most of the year,
it looks just like this.>>Not near as wide –>>Uh-uh, no.>>– as we would
imagine it to be.>>It’s probably only 15
feet wide right through here.>>Okay.>>We were about two miles north of the northern end
of the Dead Sea.>>Okay, now what’s on the
other side of the river here?>>Well you see a number
of churches and everything. But on the other side is
the country of Jordan. We read in the scriptures
that John was baptizing at Bethany beyond the Jordan.>>Right.>>And so what we were doing
is visiting the baptismal site from the Israeli side — — but in reality, Jesus was
probably baptized a few hundred yards on the other
side over here. The scripture tells
that John was baptizing at Bethany beyond the Jordan, which is location just probably
a quarter mile or so to the east of the Jordan River
at this spot.>>But we can’t go
beyond the Jordan. We’re on the Israeli
side of the Jordan.>>That’s right. Jordan is to our east.>>About halfway across
the river right behind us, you can see that golden
dome that golden dome. That golden dome is in Jordan. We’re standing on the
border of Israel and Jordan. That’s why this is
a military zone.>>Right.>>And you’ve got
Jordanian soldiers kind of guarding their
side over there. You’ve got Israeli soldiers kind
of guarding this side over here, which is the reason we’re
seeing these barbed wire fences, occasionally a soldier. So we’re just trying to
be respectful of all that. That’s why this is a
little bit different.>>That’s right.>>Even though it’s not exactly
where Jesus was baptized, it’s the traditional
baptismal site –>>Right.>>– that people visit.>>It’s the traditional site. And I believe this is a
fairly close location.>>I mean it was probably just
within a half mile or so up here over there on the other side — — of the river.>>Let’s just take another
second to walk around and see what we can see.>>Maybe we can walk
down to the water.>>That’d be great. I mean just look how
murky that water is.>>Yeah. The water doesn’t
move very much through here.>>You barely got a
ripple on the water. It’s a lot different when you
visualize this and then compare that to singing on Jordan’s
stormy banks I stand.>>Yeah, this is much different
than where we were at Yardenit.>>Yeah.>>Yardenit was a much,
much cleaner place, much more representative
of what it looked like during the time of Jesus.>>Yeah. From a biblical
point of view, Jesus comes to be baptized
by John the Baptist and Bethany beyond the Jordan.>>Right.>>He comes up out of the water. The Holy Spirit descends
in the form of a dove. John hears a voice
from heaven saying: “This is my beloved Son
whom I am well pleased.” And then from that point, Satan
leads him into the wilderness — the Judean wilderness
to be tempted.>>Right, right.>>And he’s tempted for 40 days.>>So I think from here, we’re
going to wrap up and the plan is for you to take us to some
wilderness to get a sense of what that would have
looked like and what that would’ve felt like.>>The Judean wilderness
literally starts just five or six miles to our west.>>Alright. The baptismal site of
Jesus is right next to the Judean wilderness.>>Yeah. We’re in the bottom
of the Jordan Rift Valley that runs all the way from
the north to the south. The Dead Sea is literally
two miles behind us.>>Imagine Jesus being
here with John the Baptist, a quarter-mile wide Jordan
River, throngs of people waiting to be baptized, and he goes from
that scene into this barren, desolate, dry, hot, dusty space. And we’re about to
see that transition. That’s where we’re going next. Barry. What are we
doing up here?>>Well I wanted you to
experience the wilderness. We read in Mark One: Immediately
after the baptism of Jesus, it says the spirit
immediately drove him out into the wilderness
and he was in the wilderness 40 days
being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals and the angels were
ministering to him. Now we’re in the
wilderness of Judea. This is exactly the
type of place where Jesus would have been
when this event happened. And of course today, the day
we went is tremendously hot. I think it was probably
near a hundred degrees.>>Even right now, I can
feel the heat radiating through the soles of my shoes,
burning and scalding them. I just hide it really well. Being out here and seeing this,
I can really imagine Jesus being in this space for 40
days, the sun beating down on him, no food, no water. And during that period of
time, Satan is tempting him, trying to get him
to take shortcuts, trying to give him ways out of fulfilling his
purpose for coming to earth. One of the things he tempts
him with is you’ve been without food for so long. Turn some of these
stones into bread.>>Right and as you can see
there’s plenty of stones around here to do that.>>There are. And for Jesus to be offered
that shortcut, you know, you don’t have to get
back to civilization. You don’t have to
get back to people. You can satisfy your
hunger right here. The Bible describes
Satan as cunning, and he uses opportune
moments to tempt us. And he obviously did
that in this instance. Jesus was hot. He was thirsty. He was hungry. He was alone and for 40 days,
Jesus is being tempted by Satan. And so it was just — it
was wise on Satan’s part. It was crafty on Satan’s part,
but Jesus didn’t give in.>>Well not only was Jesus
out there for 40 days, but he was out there
also for 40 nights too. During the time that
Jesus lived, it would have been complete
darkness with the exception of the moon and stars. And to be out there alone
I think during that time and to be considering
all the things that not only the devil
was tempting him with, but just the environment itself
would have been very difficult to handle. I know growing up, I
had a misconception of what the word
wilderness means. I always thought it was dry
and arid like it is here, but I always thought it
was flat, sandy-like, kind of like a desert back in United States,
but it’s really not. It’s mountainous. It’s actually really beautiful
but it’s completely different than what you know
normally have in your mind.>>Well and it mentions
there were animals. And we’ve seen some of
those since being here. Being in this space
helps us visualize that. Absolutely. I really appreciate
you taking me.>>Glad to.>>I think one of the things
that biblical students need to connect — a couple of
dots they need to connect when they think about
the temptation of Jesus, is that Jesus came to
fulfill all Righteousness. And so just like Jesus was
40 days in the wilderness, the children of Israel had
been 40 years in the wilderness and had consistently fallen
short of God’s standards and expectations and desires. And so Jesus comes, and as he
perfects all righteousness, he goes through this 40 day —
this shortened version of being in the wilderness, and
he does it perfectly. He never once gives in. He never once fails God. And it is one of the events that
helps demonstrate that he’s able to be our sinless sacrifice. We’ve come from the Judean
wilderness where Jesus went out. He was led by the devil to
be tempted in the wilderness and during that temptation,
one of the places that he takes him is
here to the Temple Mount. Now specifically, Matthew
records that, “The devil took him to the Holy City, set him on the
pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘if you are the son
of God, throw yourself down. For it is written, “he will
command his angels concerning you and on their hands
they will bear you up lest you strike your
foot against a stone.'” And Jesus replied:
‘Again it is written, you shall not put the Lord
your God to the test.'” In my mind’s eye when I hear
he took him to the pinnacle of the temple, I think like
the peak of a western roof, but what you’ve been explaining
is that’s not exactly what we should be picturing. What should be picturing?>>We use the word
pinnacle that means top.>>Right.>>That’s not necessarily
the way it’s used here. Most likely the pinnacle
of the temple was referring to the southeast corner
of the Temple Mount. There’s a place here that would
allow the devil to take Jesus. He would’ve been able to look
down over the Kidron Valley and tempt him to throw
himself off there. The fall there would have
been several hundred feet. And the Kidron Valley actually
has filled in a good bit over the centuries, and so it
would have been much deeper at that time.>>Well one of the
things to think about, when he’s taking him to
that part of the temple and asking him to throw
himself off, he’s tempting him and it’s a unique
type of temptation. What he’s offering Jesus is this
very public dramatic display that if he were to throw himself
off the pinnacle of the temple, down into the Kidron Valley
and God were to catch him up, that everyone would have
recognized him for who he was. He tried to offer
him a shortcut — a shortcut from across
a shortcut from the betrayal,
from the beatings. Instead, he’s trying to
offer him a glorious way — a dramatic way — a safe
way to prove who he is.>>That’s exactly right.>>He decides not to test God,
that he’s not going to give in to that temptation
to appeal to his pride. One of the things I’ve noticed
standing here is in front of us, we’re looking at the
pinnacle of the Temple Mount. We’ve got the ophel in front of us. And then behind us, we’ve
got traffic whizzing by and tour buses and
cars and Mopeds. and tour buses and
cars and Mopeds. These people are driving past
all of this every single day. These people are driving past
all of this every single day.>>Every single day. And I often joke that
David and Solomon when they originally
designed the city — didn’t account for all the
traffic that would be coming through here 3,000 years later.>>It would’ve been nice
if they had done that.>>There’s a lot of
traffic that comes through these wonderful places
that are so rich in history.>>In this episode of
Following the Messiah, we focused on the baptism
and the temptation of Jesus in the Judean wilderness. Now over in Hebrews, the
Hebrew writer explains that Jesus is able to sympathize
with us in our weakness because while in the
flesh he, was tempted just like us, yet without sin. Jesus had to be sinless in order
to become our sacrificial lamb. So when we see him go
through these moments where he completes all forms of
righteousness by being baptized by John or when he goes into
the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days and never succumbs
to the temptations of Satan, we see him successfully
become the sacrificial lamb that every single one of
us so desperately needs.