Last time we looked at some background about this passage and the first temptation. To read it click here. As a refresher, let’s reread the passage from Luke 4:1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “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.’”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
While the first temptation was about Jesus’ physical being, the second is focused on his authority as the Son of God. Satan takes him to a high place and instantly shows him in some kind of a vision all of the the kingdoms of the world. Then he says something that may come as a shock to us. Satan says, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” This is a brazen thing to say to the Son of God! Hold on a minute… You mean to tell me that Satan has authority over something that Jesus doesn’t? In a way, yes. Jesus eventually is given authority over the earth but right now it belongs to Satan. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 Satan is called the “god of this age.” And if you notice Jesus doesn’t refute Satan’s claims. I think he knows that God, the Father had given this world to Satan to rule… for a while. In short, Satan is tempting Jesus’s with his authority, or apparent lack thereof.
Again, Jesus comes back at him with Scripture; with what will later become known as the Great Commandment, “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only,” (Deuteronomy 6:13-14). He rests firm in the knowledge that yes, he doesn’t rule the earth… yet but his time is coming and that worshiping the one true God is more important than temporal glory. Jesus also knows that eventually he will be given all authority in heaven AND on earth (Matthew 28:28). When he comes back to rule them, it will be a perfect Kingdom, not the broken kingdoms that Satan has control over and it will be a Kingdom that has no end (Daniel 7:27).
The third temptation
Satan isn’t dumb. In fact he’s very smart. This time when he tempts he does it by quoting Scripture to Jesus as a reason for sinning. Since Jesus keeps throwing Scripture in Satan’s face to rebut his temptations, Satan is going to throw it right back at him. This time he tells Jesus to jump off the temple so that God can perform a miracle and send angels to save him before he hits the ground. He uses a passage from Psalm 91:11-12 to back up his claims. He quotes it correctly, but he quotes it out of context. The Psalm is about God protecting his people, not about Jesus. In other words Psalm 91:11-12 was not prophesy about Jesus that needed to be fulfilled. It was a general statement about the Israelites.
There is something else about this third temptation that I would like to point out. Satan has no qualms about taking Jesus to the holiest place on earth at the time. Satan took Jesus to the house of God so what makes us think that Satan isn’t able to enter our church doors? Scary to think about it, but it happens. Dissension, judgmentalism and complacency are just a few examples of how Satan has entered our churches. Think I’m wrong? Look around and I’m sure you will find the pharisees of your church who think that rule keeping makes them better than everyone else. Look further and you will see the petty arguments that divide congregations, sometimes to the point of collapse. And then there are those who are fine with the status quo. They are satisfied with their own salvation but don’t really care about a dying world bound for hell. These are all symptoms of sin. Sin is the result of temptation. Temptation is from Satan. See how it works? We are allowing Satan in our lives and therefore into our church bodies. He is trying to tear apart Christ’s mission at HQ and he’s succeeding more than we would like to admit. It is time we started using the power that we have to combat him. And how do we do this? By putting on the full armor of Christ! No, it’s not literal body armor, it’s more like soul armor:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
We have the strength and mighty power of God! We just don’t know it or use it! If we do the things found in this passage we will access a power that we have never known before. So what is this formula for battling Satan?
- belt of truth
- breastplate of righteousness
- feet clad with readiness
- shield of faith
- helmet of salvation
- sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Notice that all of these things are defensive items, except for the word of God. It is our method of offense! We have no idea how important the word of God is until we start to use it and see it in action! This is the reason that I have started these studies. I don’t know about you but I am tired of being impotent in the battle against Satan when I have the tools for victory right at hand. How about you? Are you sick of losing battles to Satan? These studies are meant to equip the average person with knowledge about God and his word so that you can not only know about God but use this knowledge to empower yourself in the name of Christ!
There is so much more I could say about this passage but I don’t want to bore you to tears. If you want to read a fascinating article on the Matthew version of this passage, visit Bible.org. I hope you are enjoying these as much as I enjoy writing them.