We deal with temptation every day of our lives. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted in every way we have been. (Hebrews 4:15) We see the temptation of Jesus in Matthew 4:1-11. Our focus is on verse 10, “Then Jesus told him, “Go away Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.” (CSB) That was Jesus’ response at the end of the testing. How was Jesus able to win over the temptation Satan had staged?
For Jesus to understand what we as humans deal with when we are tempted, He had to go through the same temptations we do. Jesus’ temptation as related in the Bible shows us how Jesus resisted temptation and shows us the schemes of the enemy. Satan knows Scripture, he just uses it incorrectly to cause us to fail, especially if we don’t know God’s Word well enough to realize what he is doing.
The first temptation was the lust of the flesh. Satan knew Jesus had been on a 40 day fast and was hungry, and so he appealed to Jesus’ physical situation, that of hunger. Jesus responded to Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (CSB) Notice that Jesus quoted Scripture as His weapon against Satan’s attack. Jesus knew what God’s Word said, He believed it, and He accurately used it against His enemy. Satan tempts us in the same manner. He tempts us with something that we think will satisfy us. He does this to get us to turn away from God. What he doesn’t tell us is, NOTHING can satisfy like Jesus! He tries to get us to turn away from Jesus and turn to something that doesn’t last. God’s Word is our defense against the enemy. Scripture is known as a double-edged sword! (Hebrews 4:12) It cuts through all the lies of the enemy that he throws at us.
The second temptation was the pride of life. Satan tempted Jesus by taking Him to the temple pinnacle and saying, “If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down.” This can be more accurately translated as “Since you are the Son of God.” In his commentary on Matthew, R.V.G. Tasker states that Satan wasn’t challenging Jesus to prove His Sonship or Deity, “but tempting Him to display an unwillingness to render to His Father the complete obedience that true Sonship demanded.” This time Satan decided to use Scripture himself to tempt Jesus. He quoted Psalm 91:11-12, but he didn’t quote it accurately. He tells Jesus that if He were to get injured, the angels would save Him. If we look at Psalm 91, it is a Psalm telling us that God will protect those who love and serve Him. The passage Satan quoted was not about Jesus, it was an assurance that God will have His hand on His people and be their protection. If you notice, Jesus responds by quoting Scripture right back at Satan. He quotes Deuteronomy 6:16, “Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God.” (KJV) Satan tried this approach in Heaven. He wanted to be above God and so he rebelled and recruited a third of the angels to follow him. Isaiah 14:13-14 describes what happened in Heaven. “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (NASB 1995) Satan also tempted Eve in the garden to eat of the fruit by saying, “…you will be like God…” (Genesis 3:5 NASB 1995) If Satan could tempt Eve, he can tempt us too. We must be careful we don’t fall into his trap. That is why it is so important to know the difference between God’s voice and Satan’s and to know Scripture.
The last temptation was the lust of the eyes. Satan took Jesus to the top of a high mountain and told Jesus that if He would only bow down and worship him, he would give Jesus everything. Satan is tempting Jesus with the lust for power. Tasker says in his commentary, “…the devil presents to the imagination of Jesus, standing on an exceeding high mountain, a vision of the kingdoms of the world which were destined to become ‘the kingdoms of the Lord and His Christ’, and he offers them to Him without toil or tears or the loss of His own life, on the single condition that Jesus would pay homage to him.” This is where Jesus tells Satan to take a hike! Again, Jesus quotes Scripture, quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 and 10:20. “You shall fear only the Lord your God; and you shall worship Him…” (NASB 1995) We can do the same thing Jesus did. Using the Bible, we can tell Satan that everything we need can be found in Jesus, and we can use Scripture to back it up.
When we study God’s Word and meditate on it, hiding it in our hearts, and memorizing it, we have a weapon we can use against the enemy. We can also pray and ask Jesus to help us. Then we can tell Satan his days are numbered because we have a Savior who will defend us and help us fight against the temptations and remind him of his defeat against Jesus! The next time temptation comes, fight back with Jesus’ help, and use Scripture as your weapon.