The story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness is both stunning and revealing. We can only stand and view this from a distance but still feel the impact. There is point after point to learn in this and contains enough inspiration as to never leave us feeling we know exactly all that went on in this encounter.
Look for a moment at the scene.
John the Baptist had just baptized Jesus. Jesus was to now begin His public ministry that was to last about three years.
There is a huge wilderness of mountains and deep ravines. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It was a very desolate place. From the mountain upon which was located Jerusalem this wilderness went slowly down until it reached the Jordan River valley at about 1200 feet below sea level. Many mountains overlook the hot valley below. It was there that Jesus went and fasted for forty days.
In this wild and rugged place the Son of God faced wild beasts and Satan. As you well know my writing is not as a commentary or theological study but for inspiration. But it is simply beyond words to explain what all went on here.
Jesus who before becoming Flesh had been with the Father always. He was one with God and God. He then had created Satan in heaven and Satan had known Jesus in Glory. Sin and pride contaminated the devil and he was cast out of heaven and down upon this earth with a multitude of angels who followed him in rebellion against God. The One Satan hated had now come to earth also to be the Savior of the world. Here on earth now just outside Jerusalem was to be a battle with the host of heaven looking on. In a very real sense it was God in the Flesh verses Satan. Satan could not get at Jesus in heaven but now in the Flesh Satan thought Jesus could be corrupted and caused to sin and fail.
Someday I may do a study on the fall of Satan.
Now with this brief overview let's see the story unfold as told in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew.
“And immediately the Spirit drove Him (Jesus) into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days,
tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts;
and the angels ministered to him."
(Mark 1:12-13 in the Holy Bible)
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said,
"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him,
"If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "
Jesus said to him , "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
Then Jesus said to him,
"Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.' (Matthew 4:1-11 in the Holy Bible)
Jesus fasted in this wilderness and was alone. We can only wonder what Jesus did each day and what He faced from the wild beasts and the weather. The fasting weakened Jesus' body and it was in this moment that Satan struck.
The devil always strikes when he thinks we have a weak point.
I suggest you read the three different temptations given here and study them. See how the devil kept coming back always with something seemingly good:
Power and might
Glory, rule and gain
Jesus hungry and weak in the wilderness and here Satan is offering Jesus His own world'¦! It was Jesus that created it in the first place.
“In be beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him nothing was made that was made' (John 1:1-3)
Satan who knew Jesus in heaven now saw Jesus hungry and in the wilderness and considered Him weak and losing.
Now skip ahead.
Look at the disciples of Jesus fleeing from Him in the Garden of Gethsemane !
Look at the solders beating Jesus and pressing upon His head a crown of thorns!
Look at Jesus as His back is scourged and lash after lash cuts skin and blood pours!
Look at Jesus carrying His cross toward Calvary !
Look at Jesus being nailed to the cross!
Look at Jesus' Hands and Feet as He hangs upon the cross!
Look at Jesus crucified!
Look at Jesus lost and was defeated!
The moment of Satan's triumph! Was the moment of Satan's defeat!
This Jesus descended into hell and took the keys of death and hell!
Jesus arose! See Him standing outside the tomb alive!
Satan's grip on the earth was broken.
The Kingdom of God had come.
Jesus NOW rules and reigns!
Jesus ascended up into heaven and is seated at the right Hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit of God indwells the believers and followers of Jesus. All power is in the Hands of Jesus in heaven and in earth! “Go! I am with you always,' Jesus said.
Sure Satan and his demons still tempt and 'he has come to kill, steal and destroy' but Jesus is in us and He has overcome the world! Glory. In Jesus we are overcomers too!
It's just a moment of time till the trumpet sounds. Jesus takes away His own. The power of Satan is ended as the Devil is cast into the Lake of Fire forever.
We have a new heaven and earth. Praise God.
I can say with Paul the apostle:
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Timothy 1:12 in the Holy Bible)
Oh, thank you Jesus for Who You are and what you did for me and all those who follow You!
I love you Lord,
Pilgrim followers of Jesus
Arthur and Denise Blessitt