4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]” 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]” 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Jesus interaction with the devil is one that is instructive in spiritual warfare.
The conditions Jesus finds Himself are these. He is full of the Spirit, He is led by the Spirit, He is tempted by the devil for 40 days, He eats nothing for 40 days, and He is very hungry.
Then come the 3 known temptations, although the Scripture tells us there were more.
The Devil delivers the temptations each one with a clear quotation from Scripture, each with a clear challenge to prove Himself. Identity is the challenge for two temptations; “if you are the Son of God” something that would not have been proved by Jesus doing what He was being tempted with. The other is a direct temptation to serve Himself, to live for Himself.
Jesus meets the temptations with a clear quotation from Scripture for each. This suggests that Scripture is a necessary ingredient to withstand the temptations of the enemy, but a closer look reveals there’s more.
However the devil decides to tempt us, we clearly need the Scripture, but it’s not our only weapon. Of the other ‘conditions’ that Jesus has here the ones surrounding the place and his physical condition are probably least important.
Rather it’s that He is full of the Spirit and being lead of the Spirit that are most critical, plus His understanding of Himself (He didn’t try to prove who He was) and He understood how God had created things in order.
For us to withstand the temptations of the devil we need to ensure that we are full of the Holy Spirit and are being obedient to Him in that we are being lead by Him, in addition to knowing God’s Word, which is how we become obedient to God.
It also matters that we understand God’s created order and His calling and identity in us.
Written by Richard Botta