Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 4:1

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1

After His baptism, Jesus was led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil.  This is looked at as the first act of His ministry, a battle so to speak with Satan.  This was not something He did of His own accord but was led there by the Spirit for a purpose.  I believe that purpose was to show that He could be tempted and not fall as man has, and thus reveal who He actually is, the one who could and would pay the penalty for our sins.  Note a similar situation of temptation.  “The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. 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 desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Genesis 3:4-7.  They also were tempted by Satan, however, they listened to him rather than God.  They believed the words of the serpent and followed what he said.

Jesus, on the other hand, did not fall into Satan’s trap.  The first temptation was “And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3.  Here, Satan told Jesus how to address His hunger.  But Jesus quoted Deuteronomy to answer him.  “He humbled you and let you be hungry and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”  Deuteronomy 8:3. In other words, what proceeds from God is what man lives by, not simply bread.

Then Satan brings Him to the pinnacle of the temple for the second temptation.  “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’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.”  Matthew 4:6. This is a quote from the Psalms. “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.”  Psalm 91:11.   Satan attempted to use scripture himself, however, “Jesus said to him, On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.” This is a quote from Deuteronomy which says, “You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested Him at Massah.” Deuteronomy 6:16. Notice the words of Jesus “On the other hand, it is written…”

Then lastly, the third temptation, which he did from the top of a very high mountain.  “And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:9. And of course, He again quoted scripture with this.  “Then Jesus said to him, Go, Satan! For it is written, YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY ” Matthew 4:10.  And this is a quotation from Deuteronomy again.  “You shall fear only the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you,” Deuteronomy 6:13-14.

This is why we need to study the scriptures and get to know what God said.  Jesus used scripture to answer all the temptations placed on Him by Satan, and this is a good way for us to fight temptation.  Knowing what God says is good and what He says is sin will give us the weapons we need to resist him and get him to flee from us.  We need to take advantage of this so we will be able to say “NO!” to Satan when he tries to defeat us.  Remember the words of James when he wrote, “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. And the way to submit to Him is to follow His word completely.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

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