The Devil says to Jesus, “Since you are God’s Son, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.”
The Devil is attacking the idea that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God. In fact, all three temptations are attempts at making Jesus forgo his mission (to trip him up) and to use his power to help himself. But Jesus’ mission wasn’t to help himself or to live a comfy pain-free life. Jesus came to help us. And how does Jesus respond to this first temptation? By saying,
“It’s written, People won’t live only by bread.
The Devil says, “Since you’re the son of God….” and he wants Jesus to use his power. But Jesus responds back with…. “I’m also a man. And I can defeat you without my power.”
I think people confuse Jesus’ mission just like the Devil does. We see people who are poor and in need, people who experience great hardship, people who are starving and we ask, “Why won’t God fix this. if God were all powerful, or all merciful surely he would do something about this. Surely the devil must rule the world.”
But see, if Jesus “fixed it” he’d be using his power to save people from physical needs. And in turn, we’d be putting God to the test just like the Israelites in the desert, forcing God’s hand to move in a miraculous way instead of…. finding our own bread or own water.
Saving people from physical needs isn’t why Christ came. Jesus didn’t come to save people from hunger, he came to save people from sin. The Devil wanted Jesus to focus on the temporary and the physical, “make some bread.” The Satan acts as a rock in the road, a stumbling block, a detour. He tries to make you forget your purpose. His design is to make you forget yours. Satan says, “save yourself” but Jesus says, “actually that’s not what I came to do.”
You know what else I think is interesting? Jesus was the Messiah and God’s true son, so this is where the Devil should bring out his “A” game, right? And…. THAT’S all he’s got? These 3 temptations? That’s his best? How difficult do these temptations sound in retrospect? Yes, Jesus was tired, weakened and malnourished, but all he had to do was quote the Bible 3x and not give in and it was over. Jesus didn’t use any divine power or influence to beat the devil, he did it all as a human.
I think we think about the devil as an unbeatable opponent. But Jesus beat him solely as a man quoting a few verses from scripture. Satan’s role is a detour sign, but all we have to do to defeat him is ignore him and continue on the path God sets for us. Satan’s role is a distraction – but all we have to do to defeat him is not listen.
James 4:7 Submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will run away from you.
That sounds easy! When you think about it, Satan’s not very strong or powerful at all.
But isn’t there a verse about Satan being the ruler of this world? Yes, Jesus spoke these words in John 12:31
Now is the time for judgment of this world. Now this world’s ruler will be thrown out.
Is Satan the ruler of this world? That’s what the bible says, right? But how can Satan and God BOTH be rulers of this world? Well, I’m not going to go into this to much, but Jesus says this to his disciples as he is praying in the garden before the cross. And if we take the time to understand these words instead of just reading them, we can see that Jesus says something that most people miss.
The ruler is…. thrown out. Which means what? He isn’t the ruler of this world. Whatever power God allowed him to have before – has been removed. Remember Satan only has power if God gives it to him.
Jesus made this comment before the cross, and after the cross it all changed.
Paul writes in Colossians 1:13 God rescued us from the control of darkness.
What was my last question? Should we be afraid of the devil?
What do you think?
I don’t like to preach on the Devil and do you know why? Because I’m not afraid of him and you shouldn’t be either.
Don’t fear, because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand.
The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid?
I don’t give the devil two thoughts because I’d rather spend my life on something that matters – on learning and loving the one who is in control. I’d rather spend my life running to the Savior instead of running away from the distraction.
God doesn’t want you to live your life in fear. Christ’s death on the cross was about victory, Jesus came to save us and He succeeded. Remember, we worship a Messiah who beat the devil with only Bible verses.
What is there to fear?
How did you enjoy this series on the Devil? Now that it’s over, what are your closing thoughts? What do you think I missed or could have expounded on more? Let me know with a comment below: