Just after Jesus was baptized and before He began His ministry at the age of thirty, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He was to be tempted by the devil. After spending forty days and forty nights fasting He was hungry. It was at this time that the enemy came to tempt Him. First, he tried to use Jesus’ hunger to tempt Him into satisfying His needs. “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
Jesus’ response was: “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” Jesus was showing that obedience to God’s Word was more important than food.
Next, the devil took Him up on a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time then he said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
Jesus’ response was: “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” The kingdom of God is more important than the riches or things of this world. “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). We are better off worshipping God who will provide for all our needs than worshipping the devil whose aim is to destroy us.
Then the devil brought Jesus to the highest pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and said to Him, Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘ He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘ In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” In other words, do not tempt the Lord by doing something foolish to prove that He would take care of you.
In dealing with the devil, Jesus used the Scriptures to overcome these three temptations. Jesus showed us how important it is that we know the Bible. Not only that, but we must understand it too because the devil knows the Bible too. He himself quoted from the Scriptures when the second time he tried to tempt Jesus. He picked out a few verses from Psalm 91 to support his point but when you read the entire psalm it is clear, that he took the meaning out of context. God offers protection to those who say, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
Satan also left out these preceding verses, “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways” (verses 9-11). Satan left out the words, “in all your ways” Like a lawyer, he just used the words that would help his case. The psalm clearly shows that those who trust in the protection of the Lord will not willfully put themselves in danger.
This exchange between Jesus and the devil is a lesson for us. Temptations will come our way but how we handle them will determine if we are victorious. Jesus used the Word of God to prove that what the devil was saying was untrue. The only way to defeat him is to quote the Word of God. In order to quote the Word of God you have to know and understand it and live it, then you will be able to withstand the devil. He can only come to you in so many ways. It all boils down to the obedience to God’s Word. Once you obey the written word, then the devil becomes powerless.
It says in Luke 4:13, Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time. The devil does not give up. He will always find other ways to tempt us. If the temptation is too hard for us to resist we should do as Joseph did…RUN or we should pray.
The apostle Paul offers us these words of encouragement: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).