Jesus vs. Satan

Today is Day 2 of our 40-day journey deeeep into the of Jesus in honor of Lent.

We’ll start with Jesus’ own 40-day journey:

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil … (Matthew 4:1)

Maybe your baptism was followed by a little party. Maybe you even got gifts or a little cash from your grandma.

Not Jesus. Right after his baptism, he was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness for the mother of all showdowns.

Here’s a blow-by-blow description …

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:2)

That’s a rather large understatement. I don’t know about you but I’m hungry after 40 minutes. I can’t imagine 40 hours, let alone 40 days.

Why on earth would Jesus fast? Fasting is a great way to focus your attention on God and to remember that you’re utterly 100% dependent on Him. And, as we discussed here yesterday, the Bible is full of 40-day periods of deep spiritual intensity prior to big acts of God.

Here’s what happened next …

The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Matthew 4:3)

Satan is a crafty adversary. It’s like he’s saying, “Are you hungry, dude? Your dad won’t let you eat? If you’re reallllly the Son of God, you’ve got power. Just use it, man. What’s the harm — your old man will never know.”

But Jesus is smarter than Satan. He does exactly what we should do when confronted with temptation: counter with God’s Word.

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4)

Satan tried another approach …

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.” (Matthew 4:5)

Some Jews believed that the Messiah would make his appearance by descending onto the Mount of Olives and then swooping triumphantly into the Temple. Satan’s words were a devilish temptation to get Jesus to seek instant popularity with a spectacular display at the hub of religious activity.

Satan continued:

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.” (Matthew 4:6)

Satan tried to twist God’s Word, quoting Psalm 91. But Jesus knew full well that the psalm is really about trusting God, not testing Him:

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (Matthew 4:7)

So, Rounds 1 and 2 go to Jesus. Tune in tomorrow for Round 3. In the meantime, consider these words from Jesus’ brother:

Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you … Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:7-8, 10)

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