Bible Reading: Matt. 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13

Following closely after Jesus’ baptism, which you can look at here: Who Is He? He is the Beloved Son, Jesus is immediately driven into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.

Matthew 4:1–11 (ESV)

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.’ ”

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.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” 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.” 10 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.’ ”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Directly following his baptism, Jesus is sent into the desert alone. The Father had just given him his approval and essentially declared Jesus as the successor to David that will fulfill the promises of the Davidic Covenant (See the previous post about the voice of God at his baptism and Psalm 2). Now, he was being sent into the wilderness to show that he would be qualified to be the King. The temptation that he was about to face would not be easy to overcome. In fact, I think if it were you or me being tempted in the wilderness we would have given in. Maybe before the devil even spoke the hard terrain would have worn us down and we would be ready to do whatever anyone wanted; just as long as we could get relief from our parched mouths and empty stomachs!

Matthew records that he was in the desert for 40 days and nights fasting. Luke records that he experienced 40 days of temptation. So, not only was he tempted at the end of those days of fasting by the devil, but it would seem that he was being tempted in various other ways leading up to what the Gospel’s record! Perhaps he faced the temptation to stop fasting and find food for himself to eat. Perhaps he found water and could have drunk it, yet he refrained. Who knows what else happened during those 40 days and nights! What we do know is that after 40 days and nights, at the climax of these small temptations that could have been thrown at him, the devil comes to him.

At this point, it is interesting to note that the first thing the devil does is question Jesus’ identity. “If you are the Son of God….” He isn’t doubting that Jesus is the Son of God, rather he is challenging it. Satan had been in the presence of the Son long before time began. He knew who he was talking to. But, would Jesus trust in the Voice from Heaven that had just said, “You are My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”? Where God had just declared Jesus as the Beloved Son, the answer to the Davidic Covenant, and the LORD’s Servant in whom God delights himself in, now the Devil is trying to challenge Jesus to believe otherwise.

Jesus is probably unbearably hungry by now. 40 days without food is about the longest you could go until your body would eventually begin to shut down. So, when the devil says, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread,” Jesus could probably do exactly what the devil was asking of him. John the Baptist had said earlier in this Gospel of Matthew that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from stones! This is no challenge to Jesus to be able to do this, but a matter of will he do it in order to ease his suffering.

Of course, Jesus will not yield to the temptation. Maybe he was thinking of the 40 days traveling in the wilderness that it took for the Israelites to reach Mount Sinai during his own 40 days in the wilderness. No doubt during those 40 days in the wilderness he had been contemplating the Israelites as they had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years before reaching the Promised Land! All his responses to the devil were taken from the Old Testament. Even more amazingly they are all from Deuteronomy! Talk about a useful book that we put off as boring! Jesus used it to fight the devil!

So, the devil tempts Jesus with turning the stones into bread. Where the Israelites failed to trust God in their wanderings, Jesus did what they would not do. He trusted in God. God provided his people with manna from heaven and they still did not trust the LORD! Jesus would not repeat this failure. During his time of turmoil in the desert he would put his trust in the hands of the Father. He will trust in the provision of God.

But he answered, “It is written,

“ ‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

This is just the first temptation that Jesus would not yield to. Tomorrow we will look at the second, and Lord willing, on Thursday, we will look at the final temptation.

5 thoughts on “Who Is He? He Does Not Yield to Temptation Part 1

  1. Interesting how Satan used this time when Jesus was at a weak point – hungry, thirsty, exhausted. He does so with us too. When we’re at our lowest point he comes in for the kill and he twists scripture to his own agenda. Jesus used the Word to defend Himself just as we should when confronted by the evil one. Another good post Jon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a helpful acronym that I have learned. H.A.L.T. For the most part, temptation comes when we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired! Jesus probably fit in at least 3 of those categories (You could argue he was righteously angry at Satan for tempting him, maybe?) But, the truth is the Word is our best defense! If it is what Jesus used then it’s an indication we need to use it! Thanks for the encouragement!

      Liked by 1 person

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