In Luke, chapter 4, we read about the temptation of Jesus. There is a striking familiarity to this account when we look closely at the interaction between Satan and Jesus. If one goes back to the first temptation that took place in the Garden of Eden, the resemblance is stark.
Jesus is in the wilderness preparing to begin the ministry to which He was ultimately called, which would lead to His primary purpose of redeeming the world. It’s a critical time because if He fails here, that whole plan is thwarted because redemption can only happen if Jesus remains the spotless “lamb” that is required as the sacrifice for our sins.
When Adam and Eve were tempted in the garden, they became enamored with the pro
mises of the serpent. He made it all about them and what they could become and the knowledge they could possess. Their role, however, was to be the stewards of God’s creation, not entrepreneur’s trying to lay claim on all they could acquire. Jesus was sent to be the one who would save the world from our sins, not to “settle” for becoming a “rock star.”
So when Satan presents these three offers to Jesus, we see a different response than we did with Adam. Adam stood idly by, letting his wife fall prey without stepping in to protect her. He , like Eve, was likely enamored by the possibilities that were being promised. They bought into the lie that they had a right to possess the same knowledge as God, all the while forgetting their assignment.
Jesus, however, stayed on task, knowing that His ultimate assignment was to do the will of His Father. In other words, it was His mission to honor God with His life – literally.
So when Satan encouraged Jesus to turn the stones into bread, much like he offered Adam and Eve the fruit, Jesus didn’t get lost in how delicious the bread would be. Even though He hadn’t eaten in 40 days, He was able to remind Satan that bread wasn’t the only food available to Him. God had provided so much more for Him. When you are tempted to have something “better than what you have”, you can remind Satan that God has provided all you need.
Satan then took Jesus to the mountain top and said, “If you bow down and worship me, I’ll give you all that you can see, and the authority that it takes to be the ruler of it.” Once again, Jesus reminded Satan that the only One who He would worship was God and God alone, the creator of all He could see and beyond. Jesus wasn’t going to settle for an offer by the prince of the world when He had a better offer from the Creator of the world. Again, when you are tempted with the promise of power and authority, you can remind Satan that God has already given you the power and authority to move mountains (Matthew 17:20).
Finally, Satan appealed to Jesus’ ego when he took Him to the top of the temple in front of everyone in the most prominent city in the region. He said, “Jump and the angels will catch you.” How impressive would that have been for people to see a man appear to fly? But once again, Jesus rebuked the idea, saying, “God does not want to be put to foolish tests.” So when Satan plants an idea in your head to do something crazy to get God to prove His love for you, remember Jesus hanging on the cross, with His arms stretched wide saying, “I love you this much.”
Why settle for Satan’s offers when God’s promises are so much better?