I have always found the passages of Jesus being tempted in the desert very interesting. It was a passage that had always been hard for me to really understand. I mean, what was really wrong with Jesus using his power & authority to show satan what he was really able to do?
I have appreciated both my bible applications as well as a study I did a few years ago to bring more complete understanding to these verses.
His first temptation was to turn a stone into bread. He had been fasting for 40 days & the verses tell us that he was hungry. Sometimes what we are tempted to do isn't necessarily wrong, but it's the reason behind it. Jesus was led into the desert by the Spirit to fast, therefore the fast wasn't over until God said it was over. Satan was trying to get Jesus to seek comfort at the sacrifice of discipline. Satan often works to tempt us to take action, even the right action, for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. The fact that something isn't wrong does not mean that it is good for you at that given time. We need to first be sure that it is God’s desire for us & not us trying to take control of the situation.
His second temptation was to worship Satan to gain the world. Even the idea of this is almost laughable to me. I can't imagine though, how hard it must have been for Jesus not to “put him in his place” & show him His true power. However, Jesus had the patience to wait for God's timing. He knew that the time wasn't right. Sometimes we need to wait on God's timing, even when everything around us screams that we should do it now.
The last temptation was to “throw himself down,” testing God for his protection. In Deuteronomy 6:16, we are told not to put God to the test. When our faith may be weak in a situation, we may be tempted to ask God to prove himself to us. However, we need to live by faith, not by magic. We can't manipulate God by asking for signs.
While facing these temptations, Jesus repeatedly quoted scriptures. Jesus was able to resist all of the devil’s temptations because he not only knew the scriptures, but he also obeyed them.
We, also, need to recognize that often we are tempted not through our weaknesses, but through our strengths. Satan tempted Jesus where he was strong; he had power over stones, the kingdoms of the world & even the angels. Satan wanted for Jesus to forget his mission, his focus & use his powers in a way that would have misdirected God's plan. When we focus on our strengths, we become proud & self-reliant & will set ourselves up to be misdirected by satan. Trusting in our own powers, we feel little need for God. To protect ourselves from this, we need to realize that all our strengths are God's gifts to us & we need to continually give them over to God for his use & direction.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Luke 3:19-20, Matthew 4:12, Mark 1:14, John 4:1-42, Matthew 4:13-17, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:14-15, John 4:43-54, Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:1-11