Now 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 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.'” 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.'” (Matthew 4:3-10)
Jesus Relationship To His Father
The character of a person is determined by the words they use. Jesus was like all men as He bore the mantle of flesh and suffered the pains of temptation as all men. When Satan came to the Lord after forty days of fasting, this was not the first time the serpent of old tried to tempt Jesus. Thirty years had passed from the birth of the Christ and as a young man growing up in Nazareth, the son of Joseph and Mary faced the same temptations as his brothers and sisters. He prepared to begin His ministry, a great test of allegiance and fidelity was placed before Jesus who was in a weakened state. The outcome would determine eternal matters planned before time itself. If Jesus could not endure this trial, the journey to the cross would have been impossible. Facing the severe temptation of the devil, Jesus defines the relationship He shared with the Heavenly Father. This would not come by divine power or inspiration but a belief system that Jesus had constructed throughout His life to face down the wiles of the devil. It was a three-part defense against the three-prong attack of the tempter. Central to each part of His defense, Jesus reveals the importance of a deep commitment to the word of God, the worship of the Lord God and the nature of the Almighty God. His ability to thwart the schemes of Satan rested upon these three things.
Jesus knew the word of God and believed with all His heart the power of the word. Authority was paramount to His understanding of the word of God. Satan tempted the Lord to turn stones into bread. It was within the power of Jesus to do such a thing but He did not have the authority from God. It was a dire situation for the Lord and the temptation of fleshly sustenance was huge but without the approval of His Father Jesus would die before disobeying the statutes, judgments, commandments, and law of the Father. Jesus loved the word of God and spent many hours poring over the messages of the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets. Standing before Satan was not the first time Jesus considered the word of God. Temptation was His common lot and He knew the power of the manna from heaven would sustain Him. Each time the Lord confronted temptation, He began with “It is written.” There is no greater power to ward off the darts of the wicked one than a fuller knowledge of the word of God.
Worship was a vital part of the life of Jesus. The Son of God understood the value of true worship based on the authority of the word of God. Worship was not something He did while at the Synagogue or Temple. Seeking the favor of God was a daily walk with Jesus and this would instill in His heart an allegiance to serve the only true and living God. The devil tried to give Jesus a shortcut. Instead of going to the cross to receive all authority and power, the Lord would only have to worship Satan. One of the greatest tricks of the tempter is to convince the heart to take the easy path and journey of least resistance. The Lord knew the word of God and understood that worship was a holy communion with the one true God and as He would later tell a woman at the well of Jacob, worship must be according to spirit and truth. There is no second option to worship. Either the heart will give its full allegiance to worship God according to the pattern established by the Father or Satan will have his way and worship will be corrupt. Jesus stood firmly upon the word of God and defied the temptation by reminding Satan there was only one avenue of worship. The Father is a jealous God and demands complete obedience in worship.
Finally, Jesus explained His relationship to the Father by rejecting every tenet of Satan’s philosophy. The devil was familiar with scripture and quoted from the Psalms. His use of scripture was a lie and he formed the verses to fit his needs for the moment but Jesus was not taken by the subtlety of the deceiver. The Lord was familiar with the scriptures and immediately knew Satan was lying. Secondly, Jesus knew that worship to the Father demanded fidelity to the character of God and as a final rejection of the lures of Satan, reminds the evil one that no one should tempt the Lord God. His answer was strong and full of the word of God. Satan was defeated. He faced the Son of God with his full arsenal of evil intentions but through the knowledge of the word of God, understanding the nature of worship and standing on the rock of salvation that was His God and Father, Jesus resisted every attack. Victory was gained by the Christ because He knew how important a relationship to the Father would be in His life. He would continue to rest upon these truths as the devil sought to destroy him over the course of the next three years. Finally, in the garden of Gethsemane, Satan unleashed his final barrage. Jesus withstood him with His firm determination to do what the Father asked. Satan may have rejoiced when he watched Jesus die but eternity changed when the Son rose on the first day of the week.