The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
– Matthew 4:3-11
Our Lenten journey began last Wednesday with the celebration of Ash Wednesday. During Lenten season, the devil is quite rampant. He tempts us during our most desperate state.
This is evident in the above text. The devil, in his deceptive way, tries to get Jesus to doubt his identity, as the son of God. He was intimating that the words, “This is my beloved Son,” spoken at Jesus’ baptism were lies.
Consequently, he confronted Jesus and demanded that he prove who he claimed to be. “Command that these stones be made bread.” Jesus does not have anything to prove. He knows who he is.
When you are not sure about your ability or who you really are, anyone can cause you to doubt yourself. First and foremost, you are a child of God, covered in the blood of Jesus, who suffered and died for your sins.
Jesus lets Satan know that he knows who he is and his purpose here on earth. “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Satan is also trying to get Jesus to forsake the cross for a moment of glory. Unlike humankind, he will not forsake the cross just for a moment of glory. Furthermore, he has no doubt about his mission.
Satan might have had some success in deceiving the first Adam in the garden, but he will fail in his attempt to deceive the second Adam, Jesus Christ. The greater glory is completing his mission.
When he failed in his first attempt, the devil shifts his mode of attack. Nonetheless, he is consistent in his effort to create doubt in Jesus. The weapon of doubt is one which he has used successfully in the garden and which he uses against us daily.
In the text, he quotes Psalm 91:11-12, “God will not allow you to fall to the ground” if you were to jump off. Here, Satan is playing on Jesus’ pride. Humankind normally acts, once challenged. Jesus could have jumped, and he would have been saved from instant death. But, then he came to glorify God not Satan.
Satan would not be put off. Jesus is weak, thirsty, and hungry; therefore, Satan sees him as vulnerable. However, instead of giving Satan a victory, Jesus stayed the course.
That is what Satan does to us. In our weakness, he uses the people around us to wear us down. Jesus helps us to stay the course.
In his final attempt, Satan, again, shifted his approach. He moved to the common human weakness, our desire for the world and its content. He offers Jesus the world if he worshipped him. Unfortunately, the world is not the Devil’s to give. Jesus, responds, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”
In these three temptations of Satan, Jesus places his trust in God and His word. During this Lenten season, we should emulate Jesus. Go to God’s word and use it as your defense against Satan. Satan cannot stand up to and against God’s word. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at The Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.