In order for Jesus to die on the cross bearing our sins, it was necessary that He have no sins of His own. If He had committed any sins, then He couldn’t have taken our sins and died as our substitute. Therefore, Jesus had to be sinless, and in order to be proven sinless, He had to be faced with temptation (it’s easy not to sin when there’s no temptation). That is why the Holy Spirit led Jesus out into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
Jesus’ temptations in the desert, however, were not the only times Satan tempted Him, because the Bible tells us that Jesus “faced all of the same temptations we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was tempted to do wrong throughout His entire life. He was tempted to lie, cheat, steal, disobey His parents and act selfishly, but He never gave in to those temptations even once.
We read today that Satan twice tried to get Jesus to doubt what God the Father had told Him just a few days before: that He was the Son of God. Satan always tries to make people doubt what God has said. That is how he got Adam and Eve to disobey the Lord. Anytime we hear something that does not agree with what God’s Word says, we should realize that it is a lie from Satan. Satan can only fool people who don’t know or don’t believe what God has said. But once you know and believe the truth, you can’t be tricked into believing one of Satan’s lies. People who know and believe what God has said don’t have to be scared of Satan. He can’t hurt them at all.
Knowing that Jesus was hungry after fasting for forty days, Satan tempted Him to change a stone into a loaf of bread so He would have something to eat. But Jesus responded by quoting what God had said, “People need more than bread for their life” (Luke 4:4). When the devil tempts us, we overcome him by knowing, believing, saying and obeying what God has said.
According to the Bible, Satan is “the god of this evil world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). That means he is controlling all the people in the world who are not submitted to Jesus, and also controlling all the evil spirits who rule over those unsaved people. Since most people are unsaved, Satan has power over the majority of people in the world in practically every country. God has allowed him to rule over that domain, called in the Bible, “the kingdom of darkness.” Satan offered Jesus the second-in-command position over his worldwide kingdom if Jesus would join his side, proving His allegiance by bowing down before the devil and worshiping him. Again, Jesus responded by knowing, believing, saying and obeying what God had said: “You must worship the Lord your God; serve him only.” Jesus knew that one day He would be ruling over the entire earth and that Satan would one day be banished to hell forever.
Finally, Satan tried to twist some Bible verses to make them mean something that they really didn’t say. He quoted from Psalm 91, saying that it promised Jesus protection if He jumped from the highest point of the Temple. But Jesus knew what the rest of the Old Testament had to say, and He knew that it would be wrong and foolish to jump off a high place and expect God to protect Him. That would be testing God. Again Jesus overcame the devil by knowing, believing, saying and obeying God’s Word.
Aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t give in to any of Satan’s temptations? If He had, you and I couldn’t have been saved!
Q. What temptations have you faced in the last week? Did you give in or resist? What can you do the next time you face the same temptation?
Q. When you are tempted, does that mean that the devil himself is in your presence, right beside you, suggesting that you do the wrong thing?
A. No, the devil can only be in one place at one time. One of Satan’s evil spirits might be present who is tempting you. However, the Bible says that temptation comes “from the lure of our evil desires” (James 1:14). That means we can be tempted without the help of Satan or one of his evil spirits.
Application: When we face a temptation to do wrong, we should think of what God has said to do. If we don’t know, we should find out what God has said to do. Then we should do it.