Matthew 4:1-11: The Test

Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, we read that “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted” (John 4:1). We have to understand, however, that for all us us, GOD does not ‘lead us into temptation’, but rather, He ‘delivers us from evil’ (ala Matthew 6:13). For Jesus, though, there was something unique going on–He had to face the enemy and defeat him first.

We can learn a lot about the enemy’s strategies by how he approaches Jesus…and, we can learn a lot about how to combat him by how Jesus responds.

1) He temps Jesus when He’s at His ‘weakest’. 

Jesus, as a human, had limitations. 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness will tend to make a person worn out and vulnerable–and that’s when the enemy attacks!

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil.  For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,

‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ 

2) The enemy attacks at our weakest spot.

Not only did the enemy attack at a moment of vulnerability, but he also attacked at the area of need–food and sustenance! Jesus had a very real need for physical food, and that’s what the enemy tried to use to drive a wedge between the Father and the Son.

Jesus refuted it with the Word of God.

3) The enemy then challenged Jesus’ faith and His trust in the Father.

Essentially, he ‘triple-dog-dared’ Jesus to throw himself down and test the Father to see if He would intervene and save Jesus from physical harm. It would have been a cheap trick and an attempt to have God the Father perform a ‘magic trick’ in order to intervene.

“…Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,

‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ 

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’ 

Jesus refuted the enemy with the CORRECT use of the Word of God–a use which honored the Father. 

4) The enemy attacked Jesus through His goals and ego, in addition to His allegiance to the Father.

“Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,

‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’ 

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” 

The enemy may have used Jesus’ sense of ‘mission’ against him! In other words, Jesus could have thought, ‘Why not–he’ll give me the kingdoms of this world and I’ll use them for good…’. But that was not the Father’s plan. That was not why He came. Besides, the enemy had NO real authority to give any kingdoms of this earth to Jesus–only the Father could do that!

Jesus refuted the enemy’s temptations by reaffirming His allegiance to the Father and His plan…and showed us in so doing, how we can fight the enemy!

In this way, the enemy showed us his strategy…and Jesus showed us the way to VICTORY!

Published by Pastor Dave Johnson

Follower of Jesus, Husband to Lori, Proud Father to 6 great kids, Co-Pastor of Kalamazoo Community Church. Long-suffering Detroit Lions fan.

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