Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV)
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall 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 glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil himself. Since he had been fasting for forty days, naturally, Jesus was hungry. The devil appeared to him and enticed him to turn the rocks into bread. Matthew records Satan beginning with the phrase “If you are the Son of God.” Jesus responded that it would be better for him to obey his Father than to satisfy his own physical hunger. Then Satan tempted him to go to the peak of the temple and jump down, making a grand display of himself. Satan again added, “If you are the Son of God,” the angels will rescue you. Jesus told the devil he would not demand a miracle from God by putting his Father to the test. Finally, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, over which Satan presently rules, and offered them to Jesus if Jesus would worship him, tempting Jesus to reign as rightful King without enduring the cross. Jesus told the devil to leave. None but God should be worshipped and served. Jesus flawlessly resisted all three of the devil’s temptations.
After reading the account of Jesus’ temptation, we may think to ourselves, “Well, of course Jesus resisted Satan. He was God. If I were God, I would resist Satan too!” But we forget that Jesus chose to take on flesh and live life as a genuine human. Although he was the God-man, fully God and fully man, Jesus was tempted just like us. Yet he was without sin. So how did he do it? According to verses 4, 7, and 10, Jesus responded to Satan’s temptations with the word of God. He declared, “It is written,” and then went on to state to the devil what God revealed through his word. Jesus didn’t just say, “Satan, I am God! You can’t tempt me!” In his humanity, he relied on the Scripture to battle his enemy. We too must resist Satan’s temptations with God’s word. But to do this effectively, we, like Jesus, must know the Bible. Let’s commit to reading, meditating on, and memorizing Scripture, so that when the enemy comes, even with an offer seemingly too good to refuse, we will be ready with God’s authority to say, “It is written,” and “Be gone, Satan.” Resist the devil today by ignoring his lies and holding fast to the truth recorded in the Bible, God’s word.