Tonight our small group discussed Luke 4:1-13 “Satan Tempts Jesus” but more precisely, were these temptations valid or did Satan really think that he could tempt Christ.
To set this up, after Jesus was baptized by John he was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days. During those 40 days, he was tempted by the devil and was hunger when it was over.
Let us walk through the three-recorded temptation:
1. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command the stone to become bread”
Here we see the devil tempting Christ’s hunger from the fast as the Bible recorded in verse 2. My understanding of fasting (thanx to one member of our group who had fasted for one week) once you have gone beyond hunger you are not really hungry. But in my opinion, I think that the temptation was to uses the power of God to satisfy a human need for food thus misusing the power to put the physical ahead of the spiritual. Christ’s response to this temptation was a quotation from scripture (Deut. 8:3) which said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Nice come back to set the spiritual back ahead of the physical.
2. The devil then took Jesus to the top of a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Then said, “All this authority I will give You and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
This is a good temptation because Jesus can end evil for all time for the world but at what cost. Since Jesus is God, then God would worship the devil. By doing this, it would go against first of the Ten Commandments Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” At this price, the cost was far too high to take out evil with one act. Again, Christ responses quoting scripture to rebuke the devil’s temptation.
3. For the last recorded temptation the devil brought Jesus to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If Your are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
I thought this was interesting how the devil quotes scripture to provoke a response, to use scripture for his own ends. The devil wanted an audience, which is why he took Jesus to Jerusalem, to attempt to expose Godâ€™s power to the public. Again, Christ responses quoting scripture to rebuke the devil’s temptation.
In all three temptations, the devil tries to tempt Christ in areas that the devil knows would tempt Him. If they were not areas that would legitimately tempt Christ then the temptations would not be valid. The devil can only provide the choice; it is up to us to choose the right path.