The story of Satan tempting Jesus in the desert, is a powerful example of how to overcome temptation. Who better to follow as an example than Messiah! Through fasting, prayer, and the grace of God, Messiah shows us how to be strong and overcome temptation.
1 Corinthians 10:13, "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.”
God tells us that we will be tempted in this life, but it will not be beyond what we are able to overcome with His help. He promises to provide a way “out” of the temptation. The temptation of Jesus was part of the master plan prophesied to us by God in the book of Genesis.
Genesis 3:13-15, “And the Lord God said to the woman (Eve), “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent (Satan) deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman (Israel), And between your seed (Satan) and her Seed (Messiah); He (Messiah) shall bruise your head (Satan), And you (Satan) shall bruise His (Messiah) heel.”
So from the temptation in the garden, this spiritual war has continued for mankind’s souls between God and Satan, including the temptation of Messiah. The “bruising of the heel,” refers to Messiah’s crucifixion and resurrection. Why did Jesus have to overcome the temptation of Satan in the desert? He had to overcome Satan’s temptations to prove that He was sinless and the Son of God. Jesus gave us the “blueprint” to overcome temptation. Remember, Satan understands the Scriptures very well, and he was trying to destroy God’s divine plans by tempting Jesus away from His ultimate purpose of saving mankind from evil. Even though Satan understands he will never win this war, his pride, his ego, and his rebellious nature will always fight God’s divine plan until he is thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone forever and ever.
Revelation 20:10, “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast (antichrist) and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Whenever we face temptation, we need to remember how Messiah overcame the evil one. If Satan tried to block God’s plans by tempting our Messiah, he will definitely try to block God’s will for our life.
Acts 5:39, “But if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest you even be found to fight against God."
Matthew 4:1-4, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil (Satan). And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter (Satan) 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.’”
Why did Messiah fast for forty days and forty nights? Jesus was baptized on the Hebrew calendar Elul 1. On the Hebrew calendar, forty days from Elul 1 is Tishri 10 (The Day of Atonement). The 40 days and 40 nights was the “time of testing,” of Messiah, which began Elul 1 (Jesus Baptism) and ended on Tishrei 10 (The Day of Atonement).
Leviticus 23:27, “Also the tenth day of this seventh month (Tishri) shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.”
Messiah started his ministry after the temptation in the desert by Satan (40 days and 40 nights) on Tishri 10, the Day of Atonement. Right after Satan’s temptations, on the Day of Atonement (Tishrei 10), He went to the synagogue in Nazareth and fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.
Isaiah 61:1-2, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn.”
The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy is written in Luke.
Luke 4:14-21, "Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
The number 40 has always been a time for testing and warning throughout biblical history. For example, Noah and the flood (Genesis 7), the Israelites after they worshipped the golden calf and Moses went back up for 40 days to repent for Israel (Exodus 34), twelve spies sent to the land of Canaan (Numbers 13), and the warning of judgment to Ninevah (Jonah 3). All of these events happened on Elul 1 and ended on Tishri 10, The Day of Atonement. Satan knew Messiah fasted for forty days and forty nights, so he tempted Jesus with the one thing he thought Messiah needed most, food. Obviously, He was very hungry and very vulnerable. Like Messiah, Satan oftentimes tempts us when we are the most vulnerable.
Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
However, our Savior quickly rebuked him. We too, are to remember that we should “not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
John 6:47-51, “Most assuredly I say unto you, He that believes in me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead. I am the bread that comes down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
Satan will always tempt us with the one thing that we feel like we need the most at that point in time, just as he did Messiah with food. He is very sly and manipulating, waiting for the right opportunity to tempt us.
1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
Like our Lord and Savior, we too are to be strong and courageous knowing that Messiah will be there to help us through temptation.
John 6:35-36, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who comes to Me shall never thirst.”
Matthew 4:5-7, “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
This Scripture shows us how well Satan understands the Word of God. He “quoted” the Scripture of Psalms 91:11-12, for his own gain, to tempt Messiah. However, Jesus rebuked Satan and told him “not to tempt the Lord God“. Satan uses the Holy Bible to twist the Scriptures, so he can tempt us as well. We too, are to rebuke Satan and endure temptation.
James 1:12-15, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death."
Why is it not good to tempt the Lord?
1 Corinthians 10:9, “Nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents.”
It is very clear that we should not tempt or test the Almighty. In doing so, we become like Satan, who is in rebellion against God. Also, we are not to add to or take away from the Scriptures of the Holy Bible for our own use.
Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”
We are commanded to love the Lord and obey His commandments. In doing so, He will bless us in His will.
Deuteronomy 6:5, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
Luke 10:27, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind.”
When we have this kind of love for the Lord, He will bless us in His will.
Numbers 6:24, “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."
Matthew 4:8-11, “Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”
Satan’s last temptation of Messiah is a temptation that is commonly used by him in today’s society; money, power, and glory. Jesus warned us about this temptation in Mark.
Mark 8:36-37, “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?"
Satan was trying to get Messiah to declare His earthly kingdom on Satan’s timetable, not God’s. No question, Jesus will one day set up his earthly kingdom in Jerusalem.
Revelation 20:4-6, “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
However, when Satan tempted Christ, it was not the right time, as the Scriptures had to be fulfilled.
Matthew 26:54, “How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”
Satan offered Messiah “worldly glory and riches” if he would worship him, which would have been the sin of committing idolatry.
Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before Me."
Matthew 6:19-21; “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches).”
First, we are to seek the kingdom of God and all that is in it, and then, He will bless us with earthly possessions, according to His will.
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
After Satan tempted Jesus, to no avail, “the angels came and ministered to him.” After fasting and praying for 40 days and 40 nights, being tempted with food, power, and glory, we can only imagine how exhausted Messiah was. No human being could have withstood the temptation from the devil like Messiah our Lord did. Like Jesus, we are commanded to take refuge in the Lord when we are tempted, and He will deliver us.
Psalm 37:40, “And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him.”
At the end of this amazing story, in Luke’s version, he stated;
Luke 4:13, “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”
Luke confirms Genesis 3:15.
Genesis 3:15, “And I will put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman (Israel), And between your seed (Satan) and her Seed (Messiah); He (Messiah) shall bruise your head (Satan), And you (Satan) shall bruise His (Messiah) heel.”
Satan departed Jesus until an opportune time, referring to when Judas betrayed Jesus, leading to Messiah’s crucifixion.
Luke 22:3-6, “Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.”
Satan’s evil spirit entered Judas and betrayed Jesus to the High Priests, which turned Messiah over to be crucified (Bruise His heel). What is interesting is that one of the things Jesus was tempted with, “money,” Judas took to betray Him. Our Lord and Savior would be crucified, buried, and rise on the third day and abolish sin forever for those who believe in Him.
John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 6:47, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.“ Amen
Matthew 27:32-65, ” Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross. And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull, they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink. Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.“Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing. Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God! And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first. “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”
Matthew 28:1-7, “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn (Sunday), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”Amen
The story of Jesus’s temptation in the desert is the greatest example to us on how to overcome temptation. Jesus was tempted in three major areas; physical needs and desires, possessions and materialistic power, and pride.
1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
Jesus never gave in to Satan’s temptations, as He is perfect, without sin.
2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
When facing temptation, like Messiah, we need to understand the Scriptures in the Holy Bible. Only then, will we be able to rebuke Satan and send him “away,” with the sword of the Spirit.
Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, (which is the word of God)."
We see that Messiah countered all three temptations with Scripture. The power of Scripture cannot be underestimated in living our daily lives. Jesus was able to resist all of Satan’s evil temptations because, He not only knew Scripture, He obeyed it. Satan has memorized Scripture, but he has chosen not to obey it. Like Messiah, we are in the will of the Lord when we not only know the Scriptures, but we obey them. Temptation itself is not a sin, unless we act on it and give in to the temptation and disobey God.
James 1:14-15, “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
Let us rejoice in this great example from our Lord and Savior and always remember that He is with us until the end of the age.
Matthew 28:20, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen, Amen and Amen!