“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread’” (Matthew 4:1-3).
Continued from Jesus Who?—How Great Thou Art!.
Indeed, Jesus was a friend of sinners, during his earthy ministry, but his relationships were purposeful. Jesus never strayed from the will of the Father, nor did he ever express approval of such behavior. Satan operates subtlety; otherwise, we might see him coming and be more likely to resist. Satan makes compromise look rational and good; he makes foolishness seem wise. Satan makes apathy look merciful and tolerant; he makes wickedness seem wholesome. No wonder the apostle Paul warns that bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33). Subtlety is the way even godly people are lured into compromising with the world and forgetting our first love. Consider the three temptations, as recorded in scripture, which Satan presented Christ in the wilderness.
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread’” (Matthew 4:1-3). An echo of Genesis 3:6, Satan calls on Jesus to exercise His power, in disobedience to God, to fulfill a natural appetite, but instead, Jesus responds: “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (4:4). Referring to the promise of protection given in Psalm 91, next Satan challenges Jesus to throw Himself down from the temple in a grandiose display of divine power. Just think with one spectacular stunt, Jesus could achieve glory, and totally bypass the passion and crucifixion, but instead, Jesus responds: “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’” (4:7). Satan then presents the Lord with yet another temptation. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:8-9). Satan offers Jesus the whole world, along with all its grandeur, but instead, Jesus responds to the enemy sharply: “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only’” (4:10).
The scripture considered in this post is full of any number of other revelations and wonderful truths worth exploring, but I have written what I believe the Holy Spirit has guided me to write.
The apostle Peter writes to believers suffering religious persecution in Asia Minor: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (1 Peter 5:8-9). Jesus fully submitted to God and His will for His life, and the weapon Jesus used against the enemy was the Word. Every moment of every day, the enemy tempts me to live for the gratification of my natural desires; God forbid, I be tempted to gratify some unnatural one. Satan tempts me to choose a life of comfort, rather than seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Yet despite my natural inclination to shake my fists up at heaven in defiance, the love of Christ abounds within me, for I am no longer that creature; the Word is my defense. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11). Until next time!
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