Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Peace be with you!
The day when the Devil is no longer in the world will be a day of never-ending rejoicing. From the beginning, the Devil has been doing everything in his power to drag us down with him into his doom. The Devil is the one who tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit; he tempted Eve with humanistic needs and with the desires of the world. While it might be easy to blame Eve, we must all admit that we all fall prey to the Devil’s temptation daily .
Even Jesus could not escape the Devil’s temptation. The Devil visits Jesus after he has fasted for forty days. The Devil is probably thinking, “Ha, I’ve got him now!” However, the Devil does not realize Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1). The Devil tempts Jesus by asking him to turn a stone into bread (Luke 4:3). Jesus is hungry after forty days of fasting, and the Devil tries to use Jesus’ human desire for food to his advantage. The Devil did the same thing when he tempted Adam and Eve with the forbidden fruit. He tempted Adam and Eve with the one thing God has forbidden them to eat. Yet Jesus understands that you do not need to eat bread alone to be filled and to have sustenance. Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit, who fulfills all of his needs. You can eat bread and be filled for a few hours, but the Holy Spirit will fill you forever and will sustain you always.
Not giving up, the Devil tempts Jesus again. This time the Devil tempts Jesus with the desire of power: “Fall and worship me; I will give you authority over all the world” (Luke 4:6-7). The human desire for power is strong. We climb the chain of command, hoping to one day to make it to the top. The Devil is appealing to the human desire to have authority and control over others, ideas, and space. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, “No, thank you; I only worship and serve the Lord as it is written in the Ten Commandments” (Luke 4:8). Jesus understands God is more powerful than any one person. God is above all of us, but he uses authority and control only with love, compassion, and grace.
The Devil is not giving up yet. He says, “Jesus, jump from the high mountain and have the angels will save you” (Luke 4:9-11). The Devil tempts Jesus with fame and riches by being infamous. Jesus would be worshipped for being the only man to survive a jump of this magnitude. It would be like a magic trick. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus says, “Nope, I will not test the Lord” (Luke 4:12). Jesus understands there is no need to test the Lord; the Lord can always be trusted. Instead of fame and riches, Jesus makes the choice to serve God the Father and to go to the cross for the sake of our sins. Even when Jesus is taunted by onlookers to save himself while hanging on the cross, he still chooses the cross.
Jesus resists the Devil’s temptations of temporary pleasures so he can give us the lasting blessing of eternal life. The cross for our salvation is more important to Jesus than short-lived needs and desires and fame and riches.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for having Jesus resist the Devil’s temptations so that he might give us eternal life instead. Remind us to look towards the new “Promised Land” where we will live and rejoice with your angels. Thank you for the promise of eternal life through the cross and empty tomb. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. In what ways are you tempted to succumb to temporary sinful pleasures rather than holding out for what is eternal?
2. What do you learn from Jesus about resisting temptation?