To understand Christian meditation we should ask, “What sort of thoughts were in Jesus’ mind? What would Jesus think about?” Is it possible for us to learn how to think like Jesus thought?
Though living in another culture from a different age, we can say with certainty that Jesus was fully human and would have thought about many of the same things that occupy human minds. Jesus thought about girls and money and the future. He wondered about death and suffering. He thought about his identity and the needs of others. He thought about God and religion.
From his childhood Jesus was raised with the Scriptures. In his schooling, family life and synagogue he had daily exposure to the history and instruction of God’s People through the Law and the Prophets. At the age of twelve, he amazed holy men in the Temple with his profound understanding of God’s Word.
His ministry at age 30 would resonate with the text and timbre of the ancient verse. He went beyond memorizing and familiarizing—he was the embodiment of God’s Word.
We see Jesus at the beginning of his ministry heading into deep thought in the wilderness. From the freshness of the river baptism with the Father’s voice and the dove descending, he heads into the loneliest of places to ponder, moan and listen. He enters a quiet place to meditate with the affirmation of His Father and the Presence of Holy Spirit.
Sometimes in our wilderness thoughts, we are tempted by similar ideas.
· How can I satisfy my appetites in an unnatural way?
· Will the urgency of my need overtake the importance of waiting for an appropriate time?
· How far must I go to prove myself?
· How invincible do I think I am?
· Is there a shortcut to my destiny?
· Who or what will I give myself to rather than God?
The wilderness struggle of Jesus gives us insight into how Jesus thought about his temptations. His mind was filled with the Word of God. Three times he responds to the struggle by saying, “It is written.”
This was not just a Bible memorizer playing ‘fill-in-the-blanks’. Jesus responsiveness to external pressure came from an internal reservoir of Truth. The Lord meditated, pondered and groaned his way through the Law and the Prophets until they laid a foundation from which He could see and think.