Matthew 4:3 | The Tempter

Satan is a topic that generates views. Some of the posts to this blog that receive the most views over time deal with the topic of Satan. Good vs. Evil. Evil is everywhere it is in every family. People are looking for assurance that good will win. The sad part is that evil does in fact have a power on earth right now. There is a spiritual war that spills over into this physical creation. People are slaves to the evil in this war. We like to think that people are basically good but in reality, people are basically selfish and self-absorbed and God calls that nature in us evil. The good news for any reader that is overwhelmed and overcome by evil is that God has already won. Satan is not a co-equal force balancing out God’s good. The truth is that Satan already lost the war and God is working out the last of his perfect plans to restore all that was broken by our evil.

It is hard to believe that Satan has already lost but he has. If we back up to the moment that Jesus is about to start his ministry we will see where Jesus overcame Satan. Jesus has gained a few followers but he has not yet started the calling on his life. Jesus approaches John the Baptist who has a ministry that is already in progress and he asks John to baptize him. At the conclusion of the baptism God himself in an audible voice for all to hear establishes Jesus to start teaching, performing signs, and calling followers.

16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 ESV

Imagine this moment. One of the few times where God, with a voice from heaven, speaks audibly. Jesus is “my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”. Could God be any clearer to both the physical world and the spiritual world who Jesus is to him? Jesus heard this voice. Satan heard this voice. Yet Satan in his first approach to Jesus in the wilderness questions just that.

3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Matthew 4:3 ESV

“If you are” is the opening line. “If you are” is a slap in the face to God and Jesus since God just spoke into the physical world that Jesus is God’s son. Satan knows Jesus is the Son of God yet he tries to put doubt in Jesus as to if that is true. If Jesus already knows it to be true why does he need to prove anything to Satan? I see this line all the time when people demand I prove God exists. They say “If God exists then he should be able to show himself” as a mocking challenge. God does not perform tricks for our amusement. It is like the jester demanding the King perform a juggling act. It is clear to me that God does exists just looking at the complexity of this physical reality. It is foolish from my perspective to think that this happened randomly. And even more foolish to imagine the physical world coming from of nothing. There was nothing and then bang. The princess kissed the frog and then in a billion years the frog became a prince.

Questioning God is Satan’s first line of attack and it seems to be the most successful since so many fall for the lie just like Adam and Eve did at the start.

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:3 ESV

Satan comes at Jesus with the same line he came to Adam and Eve. Did God really say that? If he did this to Adam and Jesus then maybe we should all stop and ask ourselves if we are hearing such a line. “Did God really say” and fill in the blank. Did God really say… don’t lie, don’t be sexually immoral, or Did God really say worship me and me alone? This is probably the same lie Satan tells himself when he is alone. God said he created me but did he really?

Jesus unlike Adam and Eve did not question what God had plainly spoken “my beloved Son”. Jesus knew where he stood with God and Jesus speaks the truth back to Satan.

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Mathew 4:4 ESV

Jesus reminds Satan of the truth. Words spoken “from the mouth of God” that he is indeed the Son of God. Jesus rejected the lies and lies are the only power Satan has in this confrontation.

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:44-47 ESV

Jesus overcame Satan in the wilderness that day. Jesus a man from heaven overcame what the man from earth failed. Dear reader now is the time to embrace and live by the words that come from the mouth of God.

Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Matthew 4:10 ESV

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s