Read Luke 4:1-13
The first observation we can make is the timing and style of the questions/temptations by Satan. When did this happen? Immediately after Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon him. Jesus had just made the public proclamation that he was “open for business.” He was led by the Spirit into the desert, presumably to pray and get closer to God before he started his public ministry. And who was right there with him? Who was watching him and making note of what he was doing? Jesus was not eating, he would use that… Jesus was praying; he would use that… Jesus was led by the Spirit; he would use that too… How long was Jesus tempted? 40 days straight! Satan is relentless…
How does he start his temptation? (vs. 3, 9) “If you are the Son of God…” He is doing one or both of two things. First he is introducing doubt. He did this with Eve too; see Genesis 3:1. “Did God really say you could not eat…?” To us, today it can sound like this, “Do you really think God cares about that?” “You’ve worked hard, you deserve this.” And so on… The second thing Satan is trying to attempt in his question is an appeal to your ego. He is daring Jesus. “If you are really the Son of God, then do this…” What is the root of all sin? Ego, pride, you wanting to be God, just like Satan. I know you don’t say before you sin, “I want to be God, so I will do this sin.” But guess what? You are saying that. By choosing to sin, you are saying to God, “In this case, I know better than you.”
How does Satan try to appeal to Jesus? He uses three different temptations, in this order. First he tries to appeal to a physical need/want. Jesus was hungry; he hadn’t eaten for 40 days. Satan observed this, so tried to temp him where he knew he could be weak. This should not be glossed over. Imagine how hungry He would be? Have you ever said this to yourself? “I haven’t had this in a long time, I deserve it…” In this case Satan tells Jesus to “tell” the stone to become bread.
He couldn’t get Jesus to fall by appealing to his physical want, so he steps it up. Next he tries to temp him by appealing to his long term vision or dream. (At least what he assumes is his long term vision or dream) Are you doing all things according to the Bible at work? Have you ever cut corners, cheated, fudged a little to help along in your long term dream? In this case Satan tells Jesus to “worship.”
The last appeal Satan makes to Jesus is to throw himself off of the Temple and have God save him. Basically he is telling Jesus to challenge God. If Jesus can throw himself off of the Temple and God will save him, then Jesus is Lord over God. In this case Satan tells Jesus to “throw, or (challenge).”
So what are we supposed to do when tempted? You know the saying, “What would Jesus do…WWJD.” Well what did Jesus do? He quoted scripture. By doing this, He acknowledged that he followed God. How was he able to quote scripture? He knew scripture. What must we do to know scripture? Read the Bible. We all know we should not steal, but what about a little tougher dilemma? Example: my niece is almost done with college. She needs to borrow $2500 to finish this semester. Her parents are in tough financial shape. She is a good kid. You have the money. What do you do? What does the Bible say you should do? There is only one way to know, and that is to know what the Bible says. Jesus quoted a different part of scripture to counter any temptation Satan had.
But here is where it really gets tricky… look at Satan’s progression. First he tempted with the simplest form. he went after the physical need/want to be satisfied. Next he progressed to the dream or grander form. And lastly, he went for a direct challenge to be God. But how did he do it? He quoted scripture too! His scripture seemed to fit. It appeared to be relevant. In other words, Satan knows how to use the scripture, so you had better know it too. This is scary. How can you defeat Satan? I will alleviate you from that worry right now. You can’t! However, if you go back to verse 1, it says that Jesus was full of the Spirit; he was being led by the Spirit. You can’t defeat Satan, but the Spirit can. And he will help you if you appeal to him.
So after all of this, after satan had failed to temp Jesus for 40 days is a stronger and stronger progression, he quit. It say’s he left…
…until an opportune time. Be on the watch. Live in the Spirit.