“Each time Satan tempted Him, Jesus responded by countering Satan with God’s Word. Many of us in reading this passage might deduce that it teaches us to counter temptation with God’s Word. While it is true that we should defeat lies with the truth (Ephesians 6:16), there is more in this passage than simply copying how Jesus responded to Satan.”
What does it mean to you that Jesus faced temptation? The fact that Jesus experienced temptations is important for our salvation as well as for our own daily battles with temptation. The writer of Hebrews captured the significance of this vital aspect of Christ’s ministry when he wrote: “For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Consider all that the Scriptures teach us about this:
In the Wilderness
In Matthew 4, after He was baptized by the Spirit and honored by the Father, Jesus was led by the Spirit to the wilderness where He faced off with Satan. What a drastic change to go from a baptism to temptation! For forty days Jesus was without food and water. Satan found Him there and tempted Him to sin.
Matthew records three specific temptations Jesus endured. First, Satan tempted Jesus to turn stones into bread so that He could eat. Jesus responded, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (vs. 4). Satan tempted Jesus a second time by telling Him to throw Himself from the top of the temple. Quoting Psalm 91, Satan said that the angels would catch Him. Jesus responded, “Again it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (vs. 7). And last, Satan tempted Jesus by offering Him the kingdoms of the world if He would only bow down and worship him. Jesus said, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve’” (vs. 10).
Each time Satan tempted Him, Jesus responded by countering Satan with God’s Word. Many of us in reading this passage might deduce that it teaches us to counter temptation with God’s Word. While it is true that we should defeat lies with the truth (Ephesians 6:16), there is more in this passage than simply copying how Jesus responded to Satan.
A Perfect Savior
First, Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness should remind us of Adam and Eve’s encounter with Satan in the Garden. There too, Satan twisted God’s Word (Genesis 3:1). But unlike Adam, Jesus remained faithful and obedient to God. By resisting Satan’s temptation, Jesus became what Paul called the second or last Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:45). Jesus fulfilled what Adam could not do, “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Adam failed as our representative in the Garden, bringing sin into the world. Jesus, by His perfect life lived for us, makes us acceptable to God once again.