Imagine spending 40 days with no food out in the desert! Would anyone voluntarily do this? Well, Jesus did it as He prepared for the next 3 years of his life in the public.
And in His weakened state, he was further assaulted by the devil who brought three propositions that seem quite attractive on the surface—that is, IF the end justifies the means. After all, who wouldn’t want fame, power, wealth and the legitimate provision of their physical needs? The price? Twist the Scripture a little, shortcut the suffering of the cross, worship Satan…Whoa! Worship Satan? Yes, that was the deal.
All of these temptations focused on selfish desires. But Jesus warded each of them off by refocusing on God his Father.
So Satan left him “for a while.” So when did he come back? I’m not sure exactly, but I see interesting echoes of the three temptations in other events of Jesus’ life.
Temptation: Turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger.
Jesus’ response: “It is not by bread alone that a man will live, but by every word from the mouth of God.”
Echo: As crowds streamed out of a town to listen to Jesus, his disciples urged him to eat something. His reply: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me.”
Temptation: Receive power to rule the world in exchange for worshiping Satan.
Jesus’ response: “The Lord your God is the (only) one you will worship.”
Echo: After he multiplied bread and fish to feed thousands, they wanted to make him king. Jesus resisted, knowing that only in the Father’s predetermined time would his worldwide reign be fulfilled.
Temptation: Do a daredevil stunt, assuming that angels would catch him.
Jesus’ response: “Do not test the Lord your God!”
Echo: When religious leaders demanded a miracle to prove Jesus’ power and identity as God, he refused. While hanging on the cross and taunted to “Come down from that cross and save yourself!” he again refused, committed to accomplishing the salvation he came to provide for mankind by taking the just punishment for their sins.
Jesus was not out to do his own thing and promote Himself. He came as God’s servant and mankind’s savior—humble and obedient to God alone.
Shall we do less?