Friday, May 11, 2018

The Three Temptations

"The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread” (Luke 4:3).

Yesterday we saw that when Satan first approached Eve, he did not initially contradict what God had said, but rather simply questioned God’s Word. He does the same here. God the Father had just told Jesus, “You are My Son, whom I love” (Luke 3:22). Now Satan calls this into question: “If you really are God’s Son, then turn stones into bread.” The issue is the trustworthiness of the Word of God, and Jesus replies to Satan, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone’ ” (Luke 4:4).

Satan comes back with a second temptation. He shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and says, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours” (vv. 6–7). After all, who will know? And if Jesus acquires the world this way, He won’t have to die. But Jesus replies, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only’ ” (v. 8).

Satan tries a third time, and this time he quotes the Bible back at Jesus. He takes him to the highest point of the Temple and says, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’ ” (Luke 4:9–11). But Jesus recognizes right away that though Satan is quoting Scripture, he is distorting its meaning. He is pitting Scripture against Scripture. So Jesus answers, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’ ” (v. 12).

The most important difference between Adam and Jesus is that when He was tempted, Jesus believed God. He did not just believe in God. Because He trusted God’s Word, He triumphed over Satan.

One of the greatest crises in the church today is the crisis of unbelief. There are many people who believe in God, but not very many who take Him at His Word. There are even fewer who are taking the Word and confronting Satan’s lies and evil programs. How about you? Do you read up on biblical answers to modern problems?