Read Matthew 4:1-11
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Heb. 4:15
Jesus had to remain sinless or else HIS story would not have done the job. The title of this series would have to read HIS story: Man’s Almost Rescue. But being fully man, temptation swarmed around Him. And, being fully God, He knew exactly how to overcome it.
Verse one of today’s reading tells us that the Holy Spirit took Him to the desert, “to be tempted by the devil.” The Holy Spirit led God the Son straight into temptation. And at a particularly vulnerable time. Having just been baptized and affirmed by God’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s descending, Jesus denied His physical body for 40 days in order to focus on His relationship with the Father. He hadn’t eaten for 40 days! It’s safe to say that he was hungry. (v 2) His body was weak with the hunger, and Satan knew it.
So the enemy jumped at the chance to ruin Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
(T)ell these stones to become bread. (v3)
We know from John 1:1-3 that Jesus could have easily spoken some bread into existence. After all, He is the very Word Himself. Jesus could have spoken an entire four-course meal into being, for that matter. Jesus Christ most definitely had the power to overcome His physical hunger. And Satan knew it. So he dangled the reminder in front of Jesus’ famished body and tempted Him to feed His own physical wants rather than obey the Father.
That’s when Jesus pulled out the big guns.
It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ (v 4)
He relied on the truth of Scripture and the Word of God in the midst of intense temptation. Jesus chose to rely on the true Source of His power and honor the Father above His own wants and desires. And that was only the beginning.
The enemy continued to tempt and test Jesus, knowing that if Jesus fell into sin, HIS story wouldn’t work. Man’s rescue couldn’t happen. Jesus had to prove Himself sinless in order to present Himself as the sinless sacrifice that He knew we needed. And, because of His victory over temptation here in the desert, He was able to win while dying on the cross just three years later.