The Dark Archangel – Satan – heard God the Father announce to all that Jesus was His Son whom He loved and with whom He was fully pleased (Luke 3:21,22). He knew this was the one promised to remove him from ruling planet Earth over four thousand years, ago (Genesis 3:15).
Jesus’ personal coach and trainer – God the Holy Spirit – sent Jesus into the wilderness to prepare for the inevitable attack by Satan (Hosea 2:14). Jesus was to ensure His human body was in full submission to His Spirit and Soul by fasting (Psalms 35:13). Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit (i.e., led in full submission to the Holy Spirit) immediately obeyed (Luke 4:1).
Satan immediately started tempting Jesus to sin but saved the three ultimate temptations for when His hunger returned (2)(Luke 4:2). Actually, these are the three areas of disobedience that Satan invented when he was known as Lucifer (1), the highest of the Archangels at that time, that led to his expulsion from Heaven (Luke 10:18). God decided that after this fall of a perfect being (Lucifer, Ezekiel 28:15) in a perfect environment (Heaven, Ezekiel 28:14) that all future leaders would have to prove themselves before sharing in His power.
Hence, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden along with Satan having access to Adam and Eve. However, the first Adam along with Eve failed all three of these tests simultaneously by disobeying God’s order to NOT eat of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil, submitting themselves to Satan by obeying his flawed advice, and pridefully seeking to become wise like God (Genesis 3:6). Interestingly, they could have had the wisdom they sought by simply eating from the Tree of Life (Proverbs 3:13-18). Now, Jesus, the Last Adam (1) is going to be put to the test to see if He can be trusted with the fullness of the power of God.
If you really are the Son of God (an attempt to create doubt and a feeling of rejection by God the Father in Jesus’ mind – just like He had done with Eve, Genesis 3:3-5) then turn these stones into bread (Luke 4:3). This temptation appealed to the desires of the flesh (1 John 2:16) and seems innocent enough. Jesus is starving at this point and God His Father certainly wants the best for His Son – right? Also, He could prove to Satan that He is the Son of God. However, that would have been using the power of God independent of God the Father’s direction. That would be rebellion (i.e., sin) as innocent-looking as eating a forbidden fruit – yet rebellion nonetheless! Remember, there is no such thing as partial obedience.
The leadership test: Will you stay submitted, obedient and in alignment with God in the use of His authority and power no matter the personal consequence(s)?
Jesus does not falter, faint or grow weary reasoning if it would be permissible to turn the stones to bread. He is not double-minded but rather single-minded and stable in all His ways (James 1:6-8). He replied by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 – “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). That is, living in obedience to every Word of God is more important than my body’s hunger! Later, He would tell His disciples that doing His Father’s will and work was His food (John 4:32-34).
Have you not known, have you not heard… that when Jesus opens His mouth school is in session? Jesus was showing us how to utilize scripture – that we have “learned by spiritual heart” – to defeat Satan’s temptations! This is using the Sword of the Spirit (1).
Satan then teleports Jesus to a high mountain and supernaturally shows him all the kingdoms of the world with their authority and glory in an instant of time. He then offers to give it all to Jesus, pausing to let him know that it is his to give away (yes, he tricked Eve – and Adam followed willingly – in what looked like an innocent act, but was an act of rebellion that cost mankind rulership over Earth – that is, man lost The Scroll of Authority! (1 John 5:19) And all Jesus has to do is bow His head to the ground and worship Satan to get it (Luke 4:5-7). This temptation appeals to the desires of the eyes (1 John 2:16). Oh, what a dastardly temptation! Jesus could not use the line that salespeople have no retort for – I do not want it! The very reason He took on human form was to set people free from Satan’s world system! His heart beats with love for mankind, mankind that would not recognize their Savior and that would soon crucify Him. Nonetheless, what He was being offered was the very thing He lived for, His passion – He wanted this with all His heart! (John 3:16. Romans 5:8). However, in Satan’s usual style he is offering a good thing to be obtained the wrong way!
The leadership test: Will you refuse to submit God’s authority and power to another even if it appears to accomplish good?
Again, the Sword of the Spirit is wielded with perfect accuracy (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13 – “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4:8). Later, He would say that even if you exchanged your soul for the whole world, you would be getting ripped off! (Luke 9:25)
Satan then tempts Jesus with the very thing that had caused the downfall of many including himself when he was known as Lucifer – PRIDE (Ezekiel 28.1 Timothy 3:6). Satan teleports Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem. He then uses the doubt/rejection message again along with stating if He were to jump then angels (1) would save Him quoting Psalms 91:11,12. Why the temple? Well, what better place and method to show off being the Son of God than angels saving you as you fall out of the sky near the temple? All the people would surely worship Him then as God which is what He as God deserved. This temptation appealed to the PRIDE of life (1 John 2:16).
Interesting point, Satan left off Psalms 91:13 which talks about Jesus crushing Satan under His feet! (Luke 10:19. Romans 16:20). Beware, Satan will quote scripture to you, but it will be out of context and incomplete!
The leadership test: Will you refuse to use the authority and power of God for self-promotion, to bring praise to yourself, or to set yourself up as a god to be worshipped?
The hammer blow of the Sword of the Spirit is delivered! (Jeremiah 23:29) Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16 – “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God” (Luke 4:12). After this Satan backs away from Jesus to wait for a better time to try and lure Him into sin (Luke 4:13). Satan has offered Jesus everything he has without causing Him to yield to sin. Fear grips Satan making him even more dangerous as indicated by him taking greater risks than he has up until this point in history (Proverbs 28:1.James 4:7.1 Peter 5:8).
Jesus has proved Himself to be completely obedient to God the Father leaves the wilderness not only filled with the Holy Spirit (i.e., submitted to the Holy Spirit) like when He entered it but now has been entrusted with the fullness of the power of God the Holy Spirit! (3) (Luke 4:14. John 3:34). Take note that up until this time Jesus had not performed any acts of power but after this time He becomes a living miracle machine! (Luke 4:18,19) Again, the reason for no miracles before this time is that Jesus came to fight Satan as a Man empowered by the Holy Spirit and not as God Himself. This was to be a fair contest with God (Jesus) limited to the abilities of a Man (but empowered by God the Holy Spirit (1) – just like what was available to Adam) and a fallen Archangel called Satan. Not only is this fair but is legally mandatory as a man (i.e., the first Adam) gave away the Scroll of Authority resulting in the enslaving of the human race to Satan, and it will take a man (i.e., the last Adam) to get it back and free mankind. Remember, Jesus was born without the seed of a man (1); therefore, He was not under Satan’s authority. However, if He had yielded to any of the temptations, then He would have become under Satan’s authority and rescuing man would not have been possible. Yes, winning this battle was that important! (4)
The King has been revealed in His triumph over Satan’s best temptations! However, at this point in time, He is King over an invisible spiritual kingdom.
What about you? What has Satan offered you for your soul? Perhaps, offering you a supposed trade-up for a younger wife (lust of the eye), more stuff (lust of the flesh), or a promotion at work (pride of life)? (1 John 2:16) Perhaps he has offered all three simultaneously! According to Jesus, even all three for your soul would still be a rip off (Mark 8:36). Realize, partial obedience is not obedience at all! (1) That is, you may think since you are serving God in some areas it will be permissible to sin a little (1) in another area – wrong! Ask the question – What will God get out of (1): me leaving my wife, accepting a promotion that allows less time for God and family, or obtaining more things that will take time away from God, family, and serving others? Play the rest of the tape (1) – divorce will leave you with poorer finances thus negating the gains of the promotion, and more stuff will simply add more things to maintain adding complexity to your life! None of these things lead to more peace in your life. Remember, Jesus’ example in battling temptation (e.g., it is written, Proverbs 5:18-20). That is, learn the scriptures (1) by “spiritual heart” and depend on the Holy Spirit to cause you to remember the one(s) you need to use during the temptation (2 Timothy 1:14.Luke 12:11,12).
Realize, sin will take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay and keep you longer than you want to stay.
All that glitters is not gold – Shakespeare (cf. Proverbs 14:12)
All that is gold does not glitter – Tolkien (cf. Matthew 7:13,14. John 14:6)
To be continued(1)…
Links to the entire series:
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) When conducting a fast the desire for hunger typically diminishes after a week or so. Then when your body has exhausted all reserves hunger returns because you are beginning to starve to death. Satan chose this moment to attack Jesus with his greatest temptations.
(3) So, you want more of the power of God in your life? Simple answer – become more obedient! (Hebrews 1:9) Demonstrate this by passing the tests that come your way. Stop living a life like the movie “Groundhog Day” where you keep failing the same tests designed to promote you in the Kingdom of God. If you are saved, then you have access to the same personal coach and trainer Jesus had – the Holy Spirit! God is still looking for those that will pass the three tests of obedience so that the power can be turned up in their lives. Realize, God will intentionally place ungodly acting leadership over you to see if you will be obedient to them in all things but sin. If we will be obedient, submitted and in alignment with an ungodly leader in an imperfect world, then we can be trusted to be obedient to God the consummate leader in this age and the one to come. Consequently, He can entrust you with His authority and power in this age and the one to come! However, obedience is learned by… suffering (1) to the point of death of self will (1) (Hebrews 5:8).
4) For further insights see the Seeds of the Kingdom article for October 2, 2016, by Peter Horrobin: http://www.seedsofthekingdom.com/devotionals/3015/testing-times.php