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"Overcoming Temptation" (posted October 1, 2003)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
... When the tempter came to Him, he said, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
... Then the devil left Him.
- Matthew 4:1, 3, 4, 11
The temptation of the Lord Jesus demonstrates two things. First, it fully demonstrates His qualifications, as the king and Conqueror. Second, it demonstrates the pattern for victory for every believer today. We see the Lord Jesus in His temptation not as the Son of God, although He was, but as a dependent Man. Through His victory over temptation we see what resources are available for the man who puts his trust completely in his God.
The first temptation had to do with appetite. The Lord Jesus reminds us that "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." The second temptation had to do with ambition. Satan tries to use the Word of God against Him, but he misquotes it. The Lord Jesus again relies on God's Word and says, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'"
Then the third temptation had to do with adoration. Our Lord again replies, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
The first man, Adam, lived in a perfect setting and failed during temptation because he did not obey the Word of God. Here we see the Second Man, the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47), in the worst of conditions -- surrounded by wild beasts in the wilderness (compare Mark 1:13), having been tempted for forty days already, all the while without food (compare Luke 4:2) -- and yet He was victorious. The environment or the circumstances were not the factor. The secret of His strength was the fact that His heart was fixed on obeying His Father; hence nothing could move Him from that path.
As the dependent Man, the Lord Jesus relied on God and His Word. Against this Satan has no power. What an example for us!
Timothy P. Hadley