4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness,
4:2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished.
4:3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
4:4 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.'”
4:5 Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
4:6 And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please.
4:7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.”
4:8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.'”
4:9 Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here,
4:10 for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’
4:11 and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.'”
4:12 Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
4:13 When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.
In today’s world we are faced with many various temptations. Whether it be to cheat and acquire some financial gain in a business, lie to a spouse or friend, dabble in lustful indulgences, the world of temptations is vast and hard to resist. However, God’s word says ” No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). That basically means God always gives us a way out and there is always a means in which we can resist temptation.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example by which we can follow to properly and biblically avoid falling into temptation. He Himself endured it so that He could adequately give us practical ways to stand strong in our faith. There are 3 different ways that He does so in this passage.
- We cannot sustain ourselves (vs 2-3): We cannot live this life by our own means and strength. One can go about attempting to gain all that the world has offered and yet as the Bible says, loose their very soul. Just like the prodigal son could not find fulfillment in material needs, neither can we find fulfillment in earthly gains. God alone can give usual the satisfaction that we need.
- Worship belongs to God alone (vs 5-8): No matter what the world has to offer you, it can only lead to idolatry and emptiness. As soon as we forfeit our worship for God towards anything else that leads us to idolatrous living. God alone should be our focus of worship. He loves, saves and redeems as and our response should be to joyfully worship Him
- Our plan is to align with Gods (vs 9-13): The devil attempted to test God out by seeing how He would react to Christ doing something unexpected. When we attempt to “throw God off” we are left with nothing but a mess of our own poor decision making. God cannot be thrown off because He is sovereign and therefore knows all things. He wants us to trust Him and by doing so that includes making wise decisions and following and obeying Him. His desire is to protect us from harm and by doing so gives us wisdom to make choices that will please and honor Him.
It is fitting to revisit this passage during Lent, a time of fasting and prayer for 40 days before the easter celebration. During this period we fast in various ways and dedicate ourselves to self-denial and aligning our hearts, minds, and wills upon the Lord. Yet, this is not done easily. It will always be accompanied by temptations. Even Jesus was tempted, and not just once.
In fact, even after the 40 days was completed Satan returned to test Jesus again.
When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13)
The evil forces will never leave you alone just because you fended them off once. Temptations of all kinds will continually try to get you to stumble. Satan is smart; he “waits until an opportune time,” as Luke 4:13 stated. When you are most vulnerable expect trials. When you are most upset, expect the Devil to take advantage of that foothold.
Yet, he who perseveres is made strong by each trial. James said to rejoice all kinds of trials “because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”