Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do 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 splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1–11, NIV 1984).
My Musings – We can learn a lot from how Satan came after Jesus, and how Jesus responded.
- Lying – While it is true that Satan is a liar and the Father of lies. He is also a master at it. Rather than a direct “frontal attack” bald-faced lie, he used a subtler indirect approach. He did not claim that Jesus was not the Son of God. He attempted to plant doubt in Christ’s mind when He was weakened from forty days of fasting. “If you are the Son of God?” And how did Jesus counter the lie? With truth – “every word that comes from the mouth of God.“
- Testing – Similar approach. “If you are the Son of God?” Kind of like, “since you are the Son of God, He’ll take care of you right? Make Him prove it.” More seeds of doubt. And the response. “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” God has nothing to prove, and we shouldn’t need Him to prove it. The cross says it all.
- Baiting – “Here’s an easier way.” Not true. Remember, Satan is a liar. The old bait and switch. “Isn’t this what you want?” Not that way. bow down to someone other than the Father. Being “given” kingdoms instead of building His Kingdom? Being “given” subjects in these kingdoms rather than the subjects voluntarily entering into His Kingdom? Hollow deceptive promises that result in just the opposite of what was offered. Abdication of the Kingdom. What is Satan trying to get us to abdicate? How should we respond? “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.“
My Advice – Learn from the Master. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15–16, NIV 1984). Confidence, and mercy, and grace. Oh my!