This amazing chapter takes us to the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry. In previous posts I have covered content from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark similar to what is found here. But this chapter is our only chance to deal with the temptation of Jesus, so that will be the focus of this post.
Did you notice that Jesus was “led by the Spirit…to be tempted by the devil”? God the Father put God the Son to the test — not to see if He was ready for His mission, but to show that He was ready. He was tempted so that everyone would know that Jesus Christ is the Conqueror! Because of His victory we, too, can have victory over the devil and temptation.
Jesus’ extreme fasting over a period of forty days set up the devil’s first round of temptation. It was a physical temptation (v.3-4), playing on Jesus’ hunger. Jesus blocked the attack with the truth of Deuteronomy 8:3, which affirmed that spiritual things are more important than physical things and God’s Word is more important than our appetites.
The second round was a psychological temptation (v.5-7). Jesus would not perform a miracle in the first round, so the devil tempted Him to demand a miracle from God — to catch Him before he hit the ground. Jesus threw the Scripture back at him and refused to sinfully put God to a test. Jesus knew His Father was a promise-keeper, and He didn’t have to prove it.
The third round (v.8-11) was a spiritual temptation: would Jesus bow down and worship the devil? The offer was for Jesus to take what was already His (the right to rule all kingdoms), but on corrupt terms. Jesus wouldn’t do it. For a third time, Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy, sending the devil slinking away in defeat.
You and I face the same battle. We are tempted by the same tempter with the same temptations. And we have the same choice that Jesus had: Will we trust God’s will or take shortcuts? Will you please God or please yourself? God’s way or my way? Will I do what is easy or what is right? With God’s help, we can conquer temptation by choosing God’s way.
We can have the same victory Jesus had when we face temptation because we have the same weapon Jesus used to defeat it — the Word of God. Ephesians 6:17 says it is “the sword of the Spirit.” A general knowledge of the Bible is not enough. We need a good grip on the Sword of the Spirit so we can swing it to attack temptation.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” That’s what it takes…and that’s what you are doing right now. Keep hiding it in your heart!