“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.”
Satan doesn’t seem to have many different tactics, but those he has seem to work very well with most people. It did not work with the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus came through with flying colors. In Matthew 4, Mark 1 and Luke 4 we find Jesus in the wilderness being tempted of the devil. Satan’s tactics have not changed today, so let’s take a close look at what happened to Jesus.
Jesus was led up (driven up) of the Spirit! Satan did not take Jesus to the wilderness. Believers are led by the Spirit. Before His testing there was something very important that took place in Jesus’ life. He was baptized by John with water. At that time, the Holy Spirit descended out of heaven, lighting upon Him like a dove. This was preparation for Jesus’ ministry and for the testing that He would go through for us.
Water baptism is a picture of repentance and is a public confession of our sins. Baptism is the first step of obedience, showing that we have died to ourselves, believing that God will resurrect us to new life, just as He did for Jesus. We receive the sealing of the Holy Spirit at the time we receive the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This prepares us for the ministry God has called us to. John the Baptist knew that Jesus had no need of repentance, seeing He had never sinned and there was no sin in Him, but Jesus said His baptism was done to fulfill Scripture.
We are led of the Spirit and tempted by Satan! While Satan may be given some leeway in our lives, but it is God’s Spirit that leads and directs our lives. The Spirit is there to fight our battles. We know nothing about the first 40 days of temptation, but God lets us in on the last three to show us Jesus understands our infirmities. Whatever you have been through, whatever you are going through, or whatever you will go through, remember these verses.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour
them that are tempted.”
We might ask the question, “Why do we need to be tested?” Testing reveals what we believe and who we really are. But more than that, it teaches us obedience, which is necessary in order to keep from destroying ourselves.
“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
FIRST TEMPTATION – LUST OF FLESH
After 40 days of temptation and no food, Jesus had a need . It wasn’t just a desire for some strawberry shortcake. It was a need to stay alive.
“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”
Jesus’ hope and confidence was in the fact that He was the Son of God! Satan would like to make Jesus doubt who He was. We must know who we are before we do battle with Satan. If you have any doubts about your salvation, do whatever it takes to get that settled. Humble yourself before the Lord and ask Him to open your eyes to why you are doubting. Are you doubting yourself or God? Do you remember a work of God in your heart? One preacher was asked by a man, “How can I know I’m saved?” The preacher said, “When were you lost?” Have you ever been lost? Whosoever…that’s all of us, shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Settle your salvation before Satan comes calling.
Satan was trying to get Jesus to prove His own power and to work independently of God the Father. The Father didn’t tell Him to turn the stones to bread. Jesus was waiting on the Father’s orders (Word) and He refused to do a work until He knew it was the Father’s will. He came to do the Father’s will, not His own. We are saved to do the Father’s will, not ours. Could Jesus turn the bread to stone? Oh yes, He could. He multiplied the bread and fed over 5,000 people with a few loaves. It wasn’t a matter of “could He”, it was a matter of “should He”! He WAITED upon the Father’s command (Word). The Scripture says to you and me, “Again, I say wait.” Do not react until you KNOW what the WORD has to say.
SECOND TEMPTATION – PRIDE OF LIFE
“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
This time the devil sits Him upon a pinnacle of the temple. I don’t know what the pinnacle looked like, but it sounds very scary to me. Satan used Scripture to try an convince Jesus to take control of His own protection. Just as God will supply our bread, He also will supply our protection.
Gloria and I were in a tent revival with Bro. Roloff when a great storm came up. There were about 1800 people under the tent. We were in the choir and our children were sitting in the audience with Gloria’s aunt. We were both thinking that God would not let the tent fall because Bro. Roloff was a man of God and preaching the Word of God, therefore, God would protect us. Just about that time the tent fell!!! In seconds, the tent was on the ground and poles had fallen everywhere. Light fixtures were everywhere and we had to crawl over them to reach our children. Someone called the police and in moments there were ambulances and police cars everywhere. They expected several hundred injuries. To our surprise, there were no injuries!!! The worst injury was a man who was trying to hold the polls down when the wind started and he had bitten his tongue. His wife said if he had laid it on the altar like he should have, that wouldn’t have happened!
God never said He would not let bad things happen to us. He said He would be with us and take care of us whatever happens. I think we get the opinion that if we obey and work real hard, nothing trying will ever happen to us. Not so! But God will take care of His children.
“The wise man’s eyes are in his head; but the fool walketh in darkness: and I myself perceived also that one event happeneth to them all.
Then said I in my heart, As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? T
hen I said in my heart, that this also is vanity.”
Jesus would not tempt the Lord God and again He waited for the Word of God. We do not have to deliver ourselves from our troubles. We wait for the Lord to give deliverances. He has ways to get us off of pinnacles that we never thought about. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts!!!
THIRD TEMPTATION – LUST OF EYES
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world at one time. Now that’s a miracle! How did he do that? I don’t know, but he was powerful and never underestimate him! All that God had put in Satan’s hands he offered to Jesus, if He would only worship him. He didn’t ask Jesus to stop worshipping God, just worship him also and he would give Him all. Satan will let you add him to your worship, but do not forget that God will not accept us worshipping any other gods! Satan says he will be your friend, but bowing to Satan makes God your enemy. You cannot serve two masters!!!
Jesus came to earth to save as many as would receive Him. Jesus loved the kingdoms of the world. Saving man was His reason for becoming a man. Satan said He could have it all without going to the cross, if He would only worship him.
I promise you, Satan will offer you a way to have your heart’s desire without having to wait upon the Lord or without having to obey the Word of the Lord. There is just one problem with his offers. He is a liar!!! The power and the glory of the world was put in Satan’s hands and afterwards he turned on God. He was using that power and that glory to entice man to worship him. He wanted to be God. If Jesus had accepted his offer and if Satan had kept his word (he more than likely would not), He would have failed God in the flesh and there would have been none to redeem our souls. Satan would say, “I win again!” But Jesus did not bow!!!
We serve a sinless Saviour who never walked in the flesh, but always pleased the Father by walking in the Holy Spirit. Having lived in the flesh, He is touched by our infirmities and understands the pressure of Satan and the world which comes against us daily. He provided a life that was acceptable to the Father and He offers that life to all who will receive it. We can exchange our sinful life for His sinless life, by repenting and confessing that He is the Son of God and that we, by faith, believe in Him. Glory Hallelujah!!!
Notice: Matthew and Luke do not record the temptations in the same order. The Scripture does not tell us how God fed Jesus when He was hungry. The Scripture does not tell us how Jesus got down off the pinnacle. Why? God does not give us a formula for testings and trials. We are not given a step by step order. We live by faith, in the Word of God, not by programs! The temptations are the same for all, but the deliverance is personal and known only to God.
We know God fed Jesus and we know He got down off that pinnacle and we know that God took care of Jesus all the way through the testing, but we don’t know how. More than likely when the angels came and ministered to Him, they took care of some of these things, but God wants us to depend upon Him at all times for all things. To have this kind of care, we must walk with the Lord on a daily basis. If your dependence is upon the Lord, you will not get very far away from Him.
How can we know that we have passed the test when Satan comes to our lives?
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
Just like Jesus, we will still be walking in the power of the Spirit! When we fight our battles with the Spirit of the Lord, we will return with that same precious Spirit and God’s power will be upon us. Remember,
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
What a mighty God we serve!