Greetings in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:16-17)
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. For forty days and forty nights he fasted.
Why was Jesus sent out to the wilderness for forty days?
Jesus experienced the very nature of humans that we all have since we have borne in to this world: the craving desire of food after his forty days and nights of fasting in the wilderness as a human being. Nobody was there. Jesus was alone for the forty days and nights.
Being alone in the wilderness itself was also a mental torture. The weakening physical body made Jesus even harder to bear his loneliness. His physical body condition was pushed up to the limit from the hunger, and He was hallucinating with his basic needs of food. His body’s strength was completely exhausted, and even the shadow of the physical death was hovering over him.
Then the devil came to Jesus. At that time, Jesus even could not stand and hold up his own body weight. He laid down himself on ground and barely breathed. However, the real test had just started. The devil came to Jesus, and Jesus barely stood up. Then the devil carefully looked at Jesus, and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3b)
The first temptation from the devil is testing the human aspect of Jesus’ desires of the flesh. Nobody cannot deny this basic desire of body, which is so deeply intertwined with our own existence on earth. Not having food means death to our physical body, i.e., ceasing existence on earth. This desire is not unique to humans, but universal to all living creatures on earth – cling to its physical existence on earth. The devil tempted Jesus by tapping into this very nature, when Jesus was very weak and in the extreme craving for food.
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4)
Jesus told that we are not just a physical creature simply existing in this physical world strives for existence on earth only, but we are God’s children, who are spiritual beings that grow and are nurtured by spiritual food, which is God’s Word. Yes, our inner spiritual beings need food to nourish our spirits in us. Jesus revealed the true secret of our true nature of being children of God. How often have we giving a really serious consideration on our inner spiritual being when we make an important decision in our lives?
The devil was defeated. Jesus resisted the very basic human instinct and solidly declared: we don’t live by bread alone, but the Word of God. However, the devil was not deterred by his initial defeat.
Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off!
For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” (Matthew 4:5-6)
For this time, the devil remembered his defeat due to the usage of God’s Word by Jesus. The devil, thus, decided to use God’s Word to tempt Jesus. The devil first set a tricky condition to trap Jesus with God’s Word, “If you are the son of God.” The devil put Jesus into corner. If you agree this statement, then why not jumping off from the temple top. Then God would order His angels to protect you as written as God’s Word. What a cunning temptation — falsely applying the Word of God to a situation that was artificially created by the devil!
Jesus was tempted by the devil with God’s Word. Such a temptation is actually more common that we think because we don’t have to go far to find an example. Let’s look back. How many times have we artificially created a condition that God’s Word serves our needs, and justify what we do and or even glorify what we do in the name of God?
The Jesus’s answer was simple and direct, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’” (Matthew 4:7b)
Jesus took out the cunning motive of the devil, and proclaim God’s absolute sovereignty. In fact, we all love to manipulate God to serve our own desires. Yes, most of us would quickly deny that we have never tried to manipulate God to server our needs. Please look back. How many times have we prayed to change God’s will to have what we want instead of changing our desire to fit into God’s will? Even have we quoted Bible verses to legitimize our needs in prayers? In fact, our prayers are our intimate conversation with God. Through prayers, we, as a mere human, talk to God and hearing God’s voice and His will rather than the other way around – forcing God to answer our desires in prayers. But Jesus directly countered the devil’s temptation with the Word of God.
Again, the devil failed. Jesus resisted the devil’s temptation with God’s Word.
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
“I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)
Now, the devil took Jesus to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. This is the test that is most subtle and most powerful – tempting the desires of our eyes.
I want to boldly say that our modern economy is built around of the desires of eyes. Why are we getting up early and working late? Do we have enough? If we have enough food to eat, then what else we need? Even so, we constantly crave for a new thing — such as a smart phone, a new car, a new house, a new computer, etc. Why? Because we have seen such things, which looks so shiny and tempting enough to our eyes to tickle our desires to own it. Remember that the first sin of all humanity came through this temptation. Eve and Adam were trapped in the desires of eyes: So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6) The power of temptation from the desires of eyes is so great that once we fall in the desires of eyes, we will surely be a prey of the desires of eyes.
“For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the LORD your God
and serve only him.’” (Matthew 4:10)
Jesus immediately stopped the Satan (i.e., the devil), and ordered to get out of here, Satan. Jesus had never been violently responded to the devil even when he tempted Jesus except this case. This gives a Godly wisdom to us. Don’t be associated with the Satan, when tempting us with the desires of our eyes. Please remember that this temptation was so seductive and powerful that the first sin came through this. The best response is to immediately reject the temptation with the power of the Word of God as Jesus did.
For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:16-17)