Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
When I think of Jesus being tempted by the devil in Matthew 4:1-10, I’m reminded of Hebrews 4:15, “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.”
It’s interesting the tactic the devil used to tempt Jesus – twisting and distorting the words of God. This was similar to how he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when he said to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).
The result of Adam and Eve’s temptation is revealed in the next verse, “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6)
This single event would change humanity forever – a change that would need a solution, the only solution – Jesus Christ!
Another aspect of Jesus’ temptation revealed in Matthew 4:1 is that it came after He fasted forty days and forty nights. If you’ve ever fasted from anything for any length of time, you’ll know first-hand how temptation rises during a fast. The temptation might be to give in and feed your hunger but it could be anything and everything!
James 4:7 tells us to, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” When we fast in the biblical sense (not for health reasons), we are submitting ourselves to God. When we submit ourselves to God, the devil comes to tempt us. If we resist him, he will flee. Since Jesus was in full submission to the Father’s will while on earth (John 6:38; John 4:34; Luke 22:42) the devil tried to take advantage of Jesus when he was vulnerable from an extended fast. It’s interesting to note that Jesus was actually led up by the Spirit TO BE TEMPTED! Expounded further, Jesus was led up by the Spirit to be VICTORIOUS OVER TEMPTATION!
How was He victorious? How did he fight against the devil’s misuse of God’s Word? With God’s Word!
There have been theologians throughout Church history who differ on whether or not Jesus could have sinned. Some say that because He was fully man, He could have while others say it’s not possible because of His divine nature. How I see it, it’s not actual temptation if there is not a capacity to sin. Remember Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus, “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He was tempted as we are! That to me speaks of his human capacity to sin but his inability to because of his divine nature. It’s both and – not either or. Augustine called this the “posse peccare” and the “posse non peccare,” which means Jesus had the ability to sin and the ability not to sin.
Since Jesus’ human nature was the same as ours and was tempted in every way that we are, He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” yet continue to be the spotless “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) because He is also God in the flesh! Amazing!
Jesus Christ came to take away my sins and your sins.
The implications are eternal.
If you were to die today and stand before God, what would you say in answer to all that you have done in your life against the Law of God? Have you ever lied? Have you ever looked at someone with lust? Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain? If so, you’re guilty before a Holy God and judgement awaits you.
That is why Jesus Christ died on the cross – to pay the penalty for my sins and yours. Because only Jesus was without sin, neither you or I can stand under the judgement of God and be found righteous. We need Jesus’ righteousness, available to us only by grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you been forgiven of your sins? If not, cry out to God and receive the free gift of salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. Confess Him as Lord, believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead so you may be saved!
Father, I pray for anyone reading this who has not put their faith in Jesus Christ, that they would do so now and would be set free from the bondage of sin and death and be born again by your Spirit! For those of us who are followers of Christ, I pray that we would follow Christ’s example of using your Word to defeat the schemes of the devil so that we will walk in your Spirit and not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. Thank you for what Jesus accomplished on our behalf. May we live in light of all that He has done. In His Name, Amen!
Thank you for reading my Daily Bible Journal!
Reading, reflecting and writing from the Bible has so radically impacted my life in Christ, it’s as if I’ve been on auto-pilot when reading the Bible in the past. There’s something about “sitting with the text” and through prayerful reflection, sharing what comes to mind. Because I’m posting online for others to read, I consider my words carefully and try to be clear and accurate.
This daily process enhances my understanding of God’s Word and embeds it into my conscience. It literally gets “hidden in my heart!”
I hope this encourages others to be in God’s Word every day.
For God’s Glory,