Matthew 4:1 - Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
WHY would God, through His Holy Spirit, lead Jesus to be tempted to sin by Satan himself? And, does this mean that God allows us to be tempted by Satan? WHY?
Jesus is God - in the form that God has of Father - Son and Holy Spirit - Three-in-one - a "TRINITY".
God's justice demands that sin be punished.
In the Old Testament, God allowed an unblemished animal like a lamb - to become a "SACRIFICE" for the sins committed by Israel - God's chosen people. It was (and had to be) a "blood sacrifice" The blood was sprinkled on an altar in what is called the "Holy of Holies" inside the Tabernacle, Tent or Holy Temple set aside for the worship of God.
This is known today as "Yom Kippur" or the "Day of Atonement". This means that the sins of Israel would be covered over...temporarily (one year) by the blood of an unblemished or spotless lamb or other unblemished animal.
To be "covered over temporarily" was what God ordained to have happen with the Nation of Israel who constantly sinned against God - as does everyone on the planet. This was done to satisfy the requirement of God that blood be shed to atone for sins....a life for a life.
God also planned to have Jesus come to the earth as a human being...through a human named Mary...a virgin who would conceive a child by God's divine will...and it would be without a human Father. God is the Father of this "babe in a manger"....the Christ child. THis child would grow, and His duty would be to become the one-time blood sacrifice for the sins of ALL mankind.
If Jesus was to become a half God/half man being, his humanity would have to face the same Satan as the rest of humanity has to face on a daily basis.
Yet, this "God-man" would have to be found "blameless" - without sin - if the plan of God was to have a blood sacrifice who would die on a cross of suffering and shame for all of humanity....everyone on the planet.
To "be sinless", Jesus would have to face Satan -the greatest liar and deceiver of mankind....so this is THE REASON Jesus was "led by God's Spirit out into the wilderness where He would spend 40-days praying, reflecting, and getting ready to start His ministry - which was to save all who would learn to trust Him as their Lord & Savior.
Before I get into the meat of the encounter between Jesus and Satan, let me give you the story of "The Ten Lepers" because I believe it absolutely demonstrates how Jesus does things for mankind, but the implication is that He expects US to come to Him...thank Him....worship Him, confess that He is the Son of God, that only He can forgive our sins and "make us whole.
To make us "whole" or "Complete", Jesus deals with us on two levels - our human, temporary earth life level - and then our eternal, spiritual destination level.
In Luke 17, Ten men who had leprosy (now called "Hansen's Disease) - a disease that rots the skin and eventually causes a painful death, came to Jesus. They heard of His fame and that He healed a leper elsewhere.
Luke 17:13- 19 is where we find the story.
The TEN LEPERS lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."
And when Jesus saw them, He said unto them, "Go and show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were cleansed."
NOTE THE WORDS HERE: Jesus had compassion upon them, so He gave them ALL the free gift of CLEANSING their leprosy so they could function in the world.
When Jesus went to the cross, He had compassion on ALL of mankind. He died so that ALL could come to Him - ask for forgiveness of our sins, and acknowledge that He is the Savior of the world...and Jesus requires repentance and forgiveness for our sins committed against God, the Father. When we do this, Jesus can then COMPLETE US" - or SAVE US from the punishment of eternal separation from God in a place called the Lake of Fire.
Like ALL the ten lepers there, Jesus gave them ALL the FREE GIFT.
He died to give us ALL His free gift of Salvation, and that would make us complete. Complete means we would function here on the earth as Ambassadors for God - so we could go out and share the good news that Jesus saves....and the completeness comes when we are saved - by God's grace, and guaranteed a place in heaven...with Him.
"And one of the lepers, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, with a loud voice glorifying God; and he fell upon his face at the feet of Jesus - giving Jesus thanks: and he was a Samaritan. (Samaritans and Jews were mortal enemies, normally).
And Jesus answering said, "Ten of you were cleansed, but where are the other nine? None of the rest returned - like you did- to give glory to God...only you - a Samaritan....a Gentile.
HERE COMES THE MOST IMPORTSANT PART OF THAT STORY:
"And Jesus said to the one leper who worshipped Him and gave thanks - "Get up from worshipping and thanking me - and go about your business - YOUR FAITH IN ME - HAS MADE YOU COMPLETE NOW."
The rest of the lepers received the GIFT from Jesus of CLEANSING....just like the whole world received HIs free gift of CLEANSING.
Jesus died on the cross for the sins of ALL mankind....but who among us - has come back to thank Him? Who has come back to worship Him? Who has come back to have our eternal destiny COMPLETED? It is done through FAITH....just like Jesus pointed out to the one....TEN PERCENT of all who were given the gift!
This is why I believe, but cannot prove, that about 90% of the human race will end up in the lake of fire...Matthew 7:13-14 - "You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is very wide - and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to eternal life in heaven is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it."
And finally, concerning the ones who fail to thank Jesus for His free gift of cleansing us ALL from our sins....if we RETURN to Him and repent..and ask Him to save us from that WIDE ROADWAY TO HELL......we can turn to Romans 1:20.
"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they shall be WITHOUT EXCUSE when they face almighty God one day. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks...(like the ONE LEPER DID) . And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused."
The end result is that they HAVE CHOSEN, by default, to be on the WIDE HIGHWAY TO THE LAKE OF FIRE.
Now - we can go back to WHY Jesus (and us) have to face constant TEMPTATION from Satan.
Matthew 4:2 And when Jesus had fasted forty days and forty nights, He became very hungry.
Verse 3 - And the tempter (SATAN) came and said to Jesus, "If your really are the Son of God, I want you to command that these stones become bread."
SATAN'S FIRST TEMPTATION- TO JESUS OR TO US - IS ALWAYS FIRST TO GET US TO LISTEN TO HIM AND DEVELOP A DIALOGUE - WHICH WE WILL LOSE.
HIS FIRST LINE OF SUBTLE ATTACK IS TO "ENTICE US". "HEY - JESUS - LOOK AT THESE STONES....YOU CAN TURN THEM INTO BREAD...YOU ARE VERY HUNGRY...AND I'M TELLING YOU HOW TO CURE THAT HUNGER."
Satan's ultimate goal is not discovered in the first attempt (or the second) to get Jesus to listen to him and then - DO SOMETHING, which amounts to this: If Jesus listens to and does what Satan tells Him to do, it would be a sin. Obeying Satan is a sin.
Now, We must take a slight detour back in time - to Adam and Eve - in the Garden of Eden.
God created man and woman so that Adam and Eve...two perfect people who knew NO SIN...would be able to fellowship with - and worship God, their Creator.
God tossed Satan out of heaven at about the same time as He created Adam and Eve because Satan wanted to "BE LIKE GOD". He rebelled against almighty God....along with one-third of al the angels in heaven. For this sin of rebellion, God tossed Satan to the earth, and chained all of his band of rebellious angels in the second level of hell until the Great Day of Judgment comes.
So, God told Adam (and Adam told Eve) "Eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden, but of the one tree in the middle - the one that has fruit on it that would allow you to know good and evil...DO NOT TOUCH IT FOR THE DAY YOU DO...YOU WILL DIE PHYSICALLY."
If God did not have at least ONE RULE - ONE COMMANDMENT, then man would truly not have the gift of "FREE CHOICE".
I say that all-powerful God has chosen NOT TO KNOW how you, Adam or Eve, Satan or his angels.....will choose. I say this because of hundreds of Bible verses that support my thesis -There is not other possibility - in my humble, human opinion.
If God chose to know, for example, how Satan and his angels would choose, why then did God create them?
If God knew that mankind (before Noah) would CHOOSE to turn on Him, why did He later tell Noah, "I am sorry that I made them..they have all sinned..Build an ark because I am going to destroy them....ALL OF THEM, including birds, animals...everything."
If God knew beforehand how YOU would choose....why would He create YOU to be destined for hell?
In my opinion, nothing else makes sense other than God CHOSE NOT TO KNOW HOW HIS CREATED WOULD CHOOSE. That, my friend, is TRUE FREE WILL - when God allows us to choose to do good - or evil.
Adam and Even listened to Satan who told Eve, "Oh sure, God said that you and Adam WOULD DIE if you ate of that particular tree, but I say "SURELY YOU WILL NOT DIE".
I have said this a dozen times, but it is the same LIE that Satan hands us ALL today..."ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT GOD TELLS YOU - OR WHAT I AM TELLING YOU?"
YOU, my friend, have to answer that very question. EIther you will choose to follow God's plan for salvation - or you will choose to follow Satan's plan for your destruction - IT'S YOUR CHOICE.
Back to Satan's encounter with Jesus. THIS IS GIVEN (By God to us) AS A LESSON FOR HOW WE ARE TO FIGHT SATAN WHEN HE COMES AROUND (DAILY) TO TEMPT US.
Matthew 4:4 But Jesus answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Jesus, who is also Holy God, knew exactly what Satan was up to so Jesus did NOT get into a debate or a dialogue with Satan which is what happened to Eve.
Instead, Jesus used a Bible verse from the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 8:3.
WE SHOULD USE THE WORD OF GOD TO DEFEAT SATAN'S ATTEMPTS TO CAUSE US TO BE TEMPTED BY HIM.
SATAN'S GOAL IS TO ENTICE US AWAY FROM GOD'S PATHWAY.
IF THAT FAILS, HIS NEXT LINE OF ATTACK IS ALWAYS "FEAR". Satan will ALWAYS put a "GOLIATH" of fear in front of us when ENTICEMENT fails. I have lived this, so I can tel you from my first-hand experience.
SATAN CAUSES OUR MINDS TO BECOME FEARFUL OF BILL COLLECTORS, OR COURT NOTICES, OR RELATIONSHIPS THAT MAY BE BREAKING DOWN...OR A HOST OF OTHER FEARS. THIS IS HOW HE DISTRACTS CHRISTIANS - FOR THE SAME PURPOSE....TO GET US OFF THE PATHWAY WE ARE ON - WHICH IS DOING GOD'S WILL, PLAN AND PURPOSE FOR OUR LIVES.
IF SATAN CAN DISTRACT US, AND WE LEAVE GOD'S PATHWAY...THEN SATAN HAS WON.
BACK TO MATTHEW 4:5-6 - Then the devil brought Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem, and set Jesus high up on the pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, "If you really are the Son of God, jump off this building for it is written, 'God shall give His angels charge concerning you: and, On their hands they shall rescue and protect you from landing on the stones below and killing yourself."
IN THE SECOND ATTEMPT TO GET JESUS TO SIN (which would have happened had Jesus obeyed any of Satan's commands), SATAN BEGINS TO QUOTE THE BIBLE....SO NEVER BE FOOLED BY SATAN. HE KNOWS THE BIBLE BETTER THAN MOST OF US DO, AND HE WILL USE IT TO CAUSE YOU TO BELIEVE THAT HE UNDERSTANDS GOD'S WORDS.....ONLY HE WANTS TO USE GOD'S WORD TO GET YOU OFF GOD'S PATHWAY.
THIS IS WHY I SUGGEST, TIME AND TIME AGAIN, THAT THERE ARE MANY VERSINS OF THE BIBLE OUT THERE AND MANY OF THEM CHANGE THE MEANINGS OF GOD'S WORD - TO CONFOUND OR CUNFUSE US, SO ALWAYS USE THE KING JAMES VERSION FROM 1611 AS YOUR FOUNDATION. IT WAS WRITTEN USING THE SEPTUIGENT (39 BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT COMPILED AROUND 200 B.C.) AND THE NEW TESTAMENT (COMPLETED AROUND 95-100 A.D.)...AND THEN USE THE OTHER VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE TO GET CLARIFICATION IF YOU FEEL YOU NEED IT.
Verse 7 - Jesus said unto Satan, Again it is written, "YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD THY GOD."
THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT WE SHOULD NOT TEST GOD....GOD HIMSELF SAID, "PROVE ME NOW HEREWITH" AND HE SAID, "COME - LET US REASON TOGETHER", SO GOD WANTS A DIALOGUE WITH US.
JESUS IS TELLING SATAN, "HOW DARE YOU USE GOD'S WORDS TO TEST ME...I AM YOUR GOD."
THIS WAS A VERY IMPORTANT PHRASING THAT JESUS CHOSE TO USE BECAUSE HE KNEW EXACTLY WHAT SATAN WAS UP TO AND EXACTLY WHAT SATAN'S GOAL WAS.
FROM THE TIME HE OPENED HIS MOUTH, SATAN'S GOAL WAS TO GET JESUS TO BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP HIM...AND THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SIN OF ALL SINS. GOD'S ENTIRE SALVATION PLAN WOULD HAVE BEEN THWARTED.
LET'S DISCOVER THE HIDDEN TRUTH NEXT..........
Verse 8 - Finally, Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain top. From that vantage point, Satan could show Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Satan wanted to show the majesty and "glitter" of owning ALL THAT.
Verse 9 - and Satan said to Jesus, "All these things I will give thee, if you will fall down and worship me."
Do you now see what Satan was attempting to finally get at? He wanted Jesus to fall at his feet and worship HIM!
DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT THAT IS EXACTLY THE SAME GOAL SATAN HAS FOR ALL THE PEOPLE ON THE PLANET WHO HAVE NOT LISTENED TO GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT WHEN THE SPIRIT SPEAKS TO THEM IN A STILL - SMALL VOICE...AND GENTLY TRIES TO GET US TO LISTEN...TO HEAR JESUS CALLING.
IF SATAN CAN DISTRACT YOU AND PREVENT YOU FROM LISTENING TO GOD'S HOLY SPIRIT TRYING TO PLEAD WITH YOU TO RECEIVE JESUS, THEN SATAN WINS. HE ALWAYS SAID THAT HE WANTED TO BE WORSHIPPED...LIKE GOD.
Matthew 4:10 - Then Jesus said to Satan, "Get behind me where you belong....because it is also written that YOU- SATAN - shall worship the Lord your God....and only Him shall you serve."
Jesus didn't come right out and say it, but He implied, "Satan..you had your chance, and you refused to worship God. One day, you will bow your knee at MY FEET and state that I am Lord."
Matthew 4:11 " Finally, the devil left Jesus - and right after that exit, God's angels came and ministered unto Jesus."
My guess is that the angels brought Jesus all kinds of food and drink, and encouraged Him. He passed the test of TEMPTATION with flying colors, and would go from there to do His ministry on the earth...to preach the GOOD NEWS that He - Jesus - the SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD and the coming Messiah.....was here to fulfill the duty first - of dying on a cross for your sins and mine....for ALL TO B CLEANSED - just like He did to ALL the lepers.
Only ONE leper came back to worship. Only one came back to thank Jesus , and for that, Jesus ompleted ths man's life. He acquired salvation.
Right now - YOU have been given that FREE GIFT OF CLEANSING....just like ALL the lepers received. Will you be the one to come back and thank Jesus for what He did on the cross?
Wil you be the one to choose to repent - and ask Jesus to forgive your sins...and save your soul - and make YOU COMPLETE?
John Tyler, Author of nine books.
FIVE of my books are bible-bases, so those are FREE!