Jesus knows all about the devil – from a human perspective. He gives us an example of how to prepare for and be aware of the devil’s schemes.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Matt 4:1-4 (ESV)
First, let’s talk about this fasting thing. Most of us can’t go a whole day without saying, “I’m famished.” Jesus just spend more than a month without food. He had lost a lot of weight. His body strength was down. He looked skinny and bedraggled. He was physically at the lowest point of His life, and Satan taunts Him and tells Him to make bread from stones. Satan hit below the figurative belt, finding the biggest chink in the Savior’s armor.
Jesus took it all in stride and quoted Deuteronomy 8:3. Satan was talking about the temporary feeling of hunger from physical food. Jesus reminded Satan that real, eternal food comes from the mouth of God.
Jesus – 1 : Satan – 0
Satan’s not stupid. He responded to Jesus by quoting the “word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and 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.’ ” Matt 4:5-6 (ESV)
Why did Satan take Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple? Why not to a mountain, or the ocean?
Jesus responded in kind by citing Deuteronomy 6:16 (remember how physically exhausted and depleted He was as He fought this battle!)
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Matt 4:7 (ESV)
Jesus – 2 : Satan – 0
Third and final try:
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’ ” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matt 4:8-11 (ESV)
Jesus – 3 : Satan – 0
Satan couldn’t appeal to Jesus’ hunger. He couldn’t appeal to His pride. He couldn’t shake Jesus’ belief that God reigns supreme.
If Satan had “won” this final skirmish, God’s plan to save the world would have been lost and prophecy would have remained unfulfilled.
Satan knows Scripture – probably better than you do. How do you match wits? How will you respond if Satan twists Scripture as he tempts you? How does knowing Scripture help you to resist the devil?
On Friday, we’ll wrap this up with a few Scriptures that you can place in your arsenal to help you when Satan finds you at a point of temptation. See you then.