A Most Determined Foe
Text: Matthew 4:1-11
Twice Satan was defeated! He may be frustrated but he was not daunted! He must have racked his brains to come up with fail-proof temptation for Jesus. He decided that he would tempt Jesus by offering him riches and power! Few have been able to resist such a powerful lure.
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly
high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms
of the world and their glory. And he said to Him,
‘All these things I will give You if You will fall
down and worship me.’ ”
Satan had nothing to lose. Deviousness did not work. Subtlety did not work too well either! He might as well throw everything he had in exchange for worship from Jesus! Would Jesus be tempted by glory or power? Would Jesus compromise and actually fall down and worship Satan for the sake of having glory and power?
SOUNDLY DEFEATED AGAIN!
Nothing Satan said or suggested appealed to Jesus! What was the glory of the world and power? Would that be fair exchange for worshipping the devil?
Jesus dismissed this temptation as spurious. Neither did he give much thought or credit to the other two temptations! Swift was the rejoinder that came from the lips of Jesus.
“Away with you, Satan! For it is written,’You
shall worship the Lord your God, and Him
only you shall serve.’ ”
Jesus had every right to dismiss Satan and this wicked temptation! Few things could be as important as the worship of God! In fact it might even be said that the essential relationship between man and God involves worship! Take away worship, and man has lost his vital relationship with God! Worship and service go together hand in hand. One leads to the other. Worship is incomplete without service! Jesus could and would never bow the knee to Satan. His service to God would be hopelessly compromised if He were to ever offer worship to the Devil!
Satan had met his match. He had been well and truly defeated. He would have slunk away if he had not been summarily dismissed! He had never come across anyone like Jesus before! He fled licking his wounds. Few animals are as dangerous as the ones who are injured. Satan was thoroughly humiliated by Jesus and he would make himself to be even more cunning and deadly!
MINISTRY OF ANGELS
The angels were always around. They were there when Jesus was born, singing His praise! They were there now with Him in the wilderness.
“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels
came and ministered to Him.”
The angels would not have interfered with the temptations Satan planned! But their help was not necessary. The Spirit of God Himself was all that He (Jesus) or anybody else would need.
A QUICK ASSESSMENT OF HOW JESUS FARED SO WELL AGAINST SATAN
A number of reasons may be suggested as to how Jesus was able to defeat Satan so effectively:-
1. The Role of the Scriptures
In all three temptations, Jesus displayed a very sound knowledge of the Scriptures!
a) The Scriptures gave enlightenment.
b) They gave strength.
2. The Role of Prayer
Jesus had just spent 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. Much of that time would have been devoted to prayer.
3. The Role of Steadfast Faith
Jesus stood fast in all three temptations! His faith in God did not waver for even a second!
4. The Role of Character
As much tested was essential character! How a person performs in public is linked to his character. Jesus had grown up well.
a) He grew up loving the Scriptures.
b) He grew up loving the Lord’s work.
5. The Role of A High Sense of purpose
Jesus had the clearest sense of Mission. Nothing distracted Him. He was not going to allow Satan to snatch away His life-long commitment to be the Messiah-Servant.
SEEING THROUGH SATAN
Many are defeated in their lives because they over-estimate the power of the Devil instead of leaning hard on the grace and power that is found in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Let us be fully dependent upon the Spirit of God in our lives! He will lead His children unerringly.