After His baptism, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness where He is tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights and at the end He was hungry. That’s when the devil showed up. Read Matthew 4:3, 4. What does the enemy tempt Jesus with? How does this show that when we are most vulnerable, we have to be careful? Jesus is hungry and the devil is tempting Him to satisfy that hunger. What important truth is revealed in Jesus’ response?
Consider that 40 days ago at His baptism, God the Father, said of Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). And now here was the devil challenging Jesus with the words, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones be turned into bread.” The issue here was not hunger but obedience. The devil was telling Jesus to use His divinity to satisfy His hunger. Jesus’ response showed that He was not there to do His own will but the will of the Father. Obedience to the Father’s word was more important to Him than satisfying His own need. Where the devil had succeeded with Eve, he failed with Jesus.
Read Matthew 4:5-7. What is the temptation here? Notice that the devil is now using scripture. He is quoting from Psalm 91:11, 12. Read the whole psalm. What key verses did the devil leave out? Why is it important to read all of scripture in its entire context and not just in parts?
Again, the devil starts the temptation with the words, “If You are the Son of God…” He is basically saying if You are the Son of God and You throw Yourself off this pinnacle, surely He will not let anything happen to you. He send His angels to save you.” The fact is that Jesus didn’t have to do anything to prove that He was under His Father’s care. He was doing the will of the Father who sent Him. He was not there to put the Father to the test. And it is the same with us. When we put our trust in God and living according to His will, He will keep us.
Read Matthew 4:8-10. The devil has one more temptation and this time it involves worship. He doesn’t premise this one with “If You are the Son of God”. The devil knows who Jesus is. His focus now is on something he has always wanted–worship. We read of his desire to be like God in Isaiah 14:12-14. He said, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” He wanted authority and power. He wanted what God had. His desire for power led to rebellion and war in heaven (Revelation 12:7-10). In this temptation, he offers Jesus the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur in exchange for worship. He wanted the Son of God to worship him–a created being. Jesus rebuked him first and then quoted scripture. Worship belongs only to God–the Creator.
Defeated, the devil went away but it is important to note that he would return again (Luke 4:13). The devil will always seek opportunities to tempt us and this is why Peter warned us to be alert (1 Peter 5:8).
Read Matthew 4:11. Do you feel encouraged to apply God’s Word when you succeed in overcoming temptations?
Do you feel that angels minister to you after overcoming a temptation? Explain why.