Lent 2022 Day 40
Sat 16 Apr
Matt 4:1-11 the Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’
4 Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the highest point of the temple. 6 ‘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.”’
7 Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. 9 ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’
10 Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”’
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Satan first tries to woo Jesus away from his mission by tempting him to perform a miracle. Of course, Jesus could do that – he could feed 5000 from the tiniest resources. It’d be no problem for Jesus’ voice to bring bread from a stone.
Jesus counters Satan with Scripture – man shall not live by bread alone. In other words, there is more to my mission than filling my very empty stomach.
Satan considered the Old Testament powerful enough to use it himself to test Jesus. Go on, Jesus, you can throw yourself down from the top of the Temple – the Scriptures say so (did you spot the Psalm?!). Go on, angel-surf your way down to the ground! You might think that Jesus would just tell Satan that he didn’t want to do that – what purpose would it serve?! But Jesus comes back with Scripture to counter Satan’s twisting. Do not put the Lord your God to the test! Who is this man Jesus, that he may use this Scripture in this context? Pause for a moment, and consider.
Jesus’ response is heavy artillery to Satan’s flimsy bow and arrow. Jesus asserts who he is before Satan and for a moment puts him down. But Satan is not finished yet. He comes to his final offer.
I offer you the kingdoms of this world. I give them all to you. Implicit in that offer was that Jesus would not have to go through the pain and suffering of the cross in order to become King of Kings – you can have the kingdoms for free. I hand them over to you. No blood, no sweat. All you have to do is bend the knee to me.
I’ve heard people in high church places say that Satan could not possibly have the right to offer this to Jesus, and that he was lying and attempting to deceive Jesus when he offered the kingdoms of the world on a plate to Jesus. We read in Scripture that Satan is a liar and a deceiver, so is he lying now? Think of how Jesus might have responded if this was indeed a barefaced lie from Satan. How would Jesus respond to a lie? Is his reply consistent with this?
Let’s consider this – would Satan attempt to lie to or deceive Jesus? In the Spirit, Jesus knew Satan all too well. He knew his game, and he knew exactly what Satan had dominion over. Jesus knew Satan of old, and though the mortal frame was weak and hungry, the spiritual man was beating Satan hands down.
I do believe that Satan had the power, the authority and the leasehold (though not freehold) on the kingdoms of this world, and was able to offer these to Jesus. It was a high-ranking card from Satan’s hand. Jesus would gain the kingdoms of the earth as his, and his work would be complete.
Jesus did not say, “Away with you Satan, you liar!” and leave it at that. He also quoted the truth and authority of Scripture once more and beat Satan’s Jack with a King. “Do not put the Lord your God to the test”. How dare you, Satan, try to rise up over me. Who, then, is Satan speaking to if it is not the Lord God, Son of God? Jesus had used that fragment of Scripture about himself. He had a higher right.
Satan still holds territory, though he is immortally wounded by Jesus, and doomed to destruction. Pray for those nations and for people who still live under the power of the Enemy.
And after this encounter did God enjoy sending the angels out to attend to Jesus? Did they lift him in their hands?
Is Satan a spent firework?
Does Jesus rule the whole world?
What’s your spiritual achilles heel? How do you deal with it?
Father God, your word is a lantern for my feet and a light for my path. Help me to understand how the Old Testament Scriptures reveal your loving nature and your never-failing promises. I commit myself to read more of the Bible with my eyes, my ears and my understanding, so that I may love you with all my heart, my soul, my body and my strength. Amen.