While temptation comes in many forms, it always has one thing in common. Temptation appeals to our fallen desires—for comfort, pleasure, power, love. And Satan (the “roaring lion” mentioned in 1 Peter 5:8) knows exactly when to pounce.
Before Jesus began His public ministry, the Holy Spirit led Him into the desert for a time of solitude, fasting, and prayer. When Satan appeared, Jesus was physically weak and hungry, but He was spiritually full.
With his first temptation, Satan questioned Jesus’ identity as God’s Son and the Father’s willingness to provide basic care. Satan appealed to Jesus’ hunger and challenged Him to take matters into His own hands. Jesus responded by reciting Deuteronomy 8:3, which prioritizes obedience to God over physical needs.
With the second temptation, the devil tried a different tactic—an appeal to power, an invitation to worship him, and a direct assault on the first commandment. Ironically, in offering to grant Jesus the authority over all kingdoms on earth, Satan was promising something he couldn’t deliver. Jesus replied with Deuteronomy 6:13, declaring the Lord is the only one worthy of worship.
For the third temptation, Satan took Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem—perhaps in a vision. The “highest point of the temple” was the Royal Porch, towering over the Kidron Valley with a drop of 450 feet (v. 9). Satan challenged Jesus to prove His identity by casting Himself down and calling angels to save Him. Satan even quoted the Old Testament himself (Ps. 91:11–12) to enhance his argument. Jesus recognized this as a presumptuous test of God that showed an insolent lack of faith. He recited Deuteronomy 6:16, and Satan left Him alone. But Luke finished the account on an ominous note. Satan wasn’t done. He was just waiting until a more opportune time.
>> How has Satan used similar tactics to tempt you? What do you learn from Jesus’ response that will help you face the fiery darts?
Heavenly Father, we are afraid lest we mistake our own voice or the devil’s for Yours. As we study Your Word and fellowship with You in prayer, teach us to recognize Your voice so that we cannot be fooled by others.