Lent is the 40 day period leading up to Easter Sunday and the resurrection of our Christ! The 40 days in particular symbolize the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness before beginning His ministry. As we enter this Easter season, we can all learn so much from Jesus’s temptation story and apply it to our own lives and own temptations.
Jesus was led by the Spirit into this temptation. How interesting is it to think of how Jesus did not ask for this temptation, nor did He seek it out himself. Instead, the Spirit led him into this season to be strengthened and grow. This sets a precedent for us that we will not always be in a situation where our actions have led us into temptation, but we can learn something from the experience and turn from sin, regardless! We can be assured that we will ALWAYS be surrounded by seasons of temptation in the broken world we live in. But, Jesus’s perfect model shows us clearly how we can go forward and face this temptation!
Jesus has three recorded temptations from Satan in this time, and they each correspond with ways that we are currently tempted today.
“The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3).
Satan, the tempter, tempted Jesus in his weakness. Jesus had been fasting for 40 days at this point, and he was most likely “hangry” and absolutely starving. Satan tries to attack and tempt us in our weakest, most vulnerable moments. But how does Jesus respond? THE WORD OF GOD. He responds confidently with God’s scripture, giving us a guide on how to go up against this temptation as well. Whenever we are vulnerable, scared, and facing temptation – we have the ability to fight back with memorized scripture or the promises of God.
The next temptation occurs in verses 5-7:
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.
For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
This part of Jesus’s journey in the wilderness shows us that sometimes Satan will try to trick us into sinning using God’s word!! Satan tempted Jesus with the idea of fame, prestige, and approval. If he had thrown himself off of the temple, so many people would have seen Him and His heavenly power. He would have instantly been worshiped and admired. Satan tries to justify this sin by using God’s word. We, too, are often tempted by earthly things with Satan bending God’s word and whispering in our ear. Yet, we must be prepared to fight back against these moments by knowing the truth behind scripture and God’s heart behind all that He does. We do not need to test our heavenly Father or chase after fame and fortune, God is enough!
Lastly, we see the way that Satan likes to tempt us not just in our weakness, not just with God’s good word, but sometimes Satan will tempt us with possessions and short-lived desires. “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”” (Matthew 4:8-9).
All Jesus had to do was worship the world and the world would have been given to Him. Yet, Jesus chose to worship the ONE. TRUE. GOD. The world will never satisfy us, but Satan constantly tries to convince us it will. Even Solomon, a king who had everything, found it all meaningless without the Lord, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).
Finally, Jesus tells Satan to go away from Him as He finishes His 40 days in the desert. We can do the same and rebuke Satan’s power over us, in the name of Christ!
As we continue in these 40 days of Lent, we will endure temptation and spiritual attacks, just as Jesus did. Yet, we can choose to spend this season equipping ourselves in God’s word and worshiping Him for all He is! We are not alone; our Savior has gone before us, stays beside us, and will go before us!