Read Matthew 4:1-11. How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptations in the wilderness, and what is the important lesson here for us in His response?
Jesus didn’t argue with Satan nor debate him. He simply quoted Scripture because, as the Word of God, it is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). And in each case the Word He quoted was from Deuteronomy. How interesting that Jesus, in the wilderness, chose to quote texts that were given to Israel in the wilderness, as well.
In the first temptation, Jesus referred to Deuteronomy 8:3. Moses had been recounting to ancient Israel how the Lord had provided for them all those years in the wilderness, including giving the manna — all part of a refining process, as the Lord was seeking to teach them spiritual lessons. And among those lessons was that “man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (NKJV). God fed you physical food, but He also gives you spiritual nourishment. You can’t take only the first without the second. Jesus used the image of bread as a transition to Deuteronomy and to rebuke Satan and the doubt he tried to instill in Jesus.
In the second temptation, Jesus goes back to Deuteronomy 6:16, where Moses pointed the people back to their rebellion in Massah (see Exodus 17:1-7), saying, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God as you tempted Him in Massah” (NKJV). The word for “tempt” can mean “try” or “test.” The Lord already had shown them, over and over, His power and willingness to provide for them; yet, the moment trouble came, they cried out — “Is the LORD among us or not?” (Exodus 17:7). And it was from that story that Jesus drew from the Word of God to rebuke Satan.
In the third temptation, Satan this time sought to get Christ to bow down and worship him. What an open and blatant revelation of just who he really was and what he really wanted! Rather than debate, Jesus rebukes Satan and again reverts to the Word of God, Deuteronomy, where the Lord was warning His people about what would happen if they were to fall away and worship other gods. “You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him” (Deuteronomy 6:13), meaning Him and Him alone.
|How can we learn to draw more power in our own lives from our study of the Word of God in order to reflect more fully the character of Jesus and, like Him, resist Satan’s temptations?|