He’d been in this barren place for forty days now, and forty nights. He’d been led here by the Spirit, knew it was for His testing, but His human flesh cried out at times, “Why?” He was lonely, He was starving, He was so parched, part of Him was amazed He was still alive. There were times He could do nothing but flop on the sand, though it was unbearably hot. Only the strangest of creatures crossed His path while He was out here, nothing to give Him any comfort. He looked upon the same sights day after day; sand dunes, cacti filled with thorns. How He longed for the city. Though He had no place of His own to lay His head, there was always an excellent chance that He’d come across one kind enough to open up their home for a bit to Him.
But He could not dwell on that now. His time of tempting was coming. He knew that much, and so sweating horrifically, trudging along the sand in sandals that didn’t seem like they might last much longer, he prepared Himself, speaking to His father. With all His power and might, he cried out to His dad.
It seemed that ages had passed before His adversary was upon Him. Jesus narrowed His eyes as He looked upon Satan in all his hatefulness, standing before Him with a mocking and assured look. But with His own assuredness Jesus locked eyes with him, waiting for what Satan would try to offer.
Satan seized on the most obvious need of the moment, hissing, “I know you’re hungry. If you’re truly who you say you are, then I dare you to make these stones into bread.” He thrust five large rocks toward Jesus, certain he already had Him.
Jesus, feeling a new surge of strength answered, “The truth is devil, it has been written that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”*
The devil stood stunned a moment, having been so sure that he would have been taken up on that one. He could practically hear Jesus’ stomach growling. But trying to appear undaunted, he motioned for Jesus to follow, and then led him to the city, led him to the top of the temple. He let Jesus take in the sight from this height, knowing that though He was who He said He was, his humanness could not be at ease with the daunting surge below. He looked for signs of squirming, but when he saw none, said, “Come on. If you’re the Son of God, then I double dare you to hurl yourself off this. For it is written,” he added mockingly, “that ‘He shall give His angels charge over you and their hands will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ “* Satan felt very smug now to be playing at Jesus’ own game, quoting scripture.
But Jesus, quicker, came back with “Yes, that is true. But also true is that it is written; ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”*
Satan scowled now, frustrated that in one quick comeback, Jesus had both turned him down and stated ever so clearly that He was indeed Lord. Fine, thought Satan, I’ll have to come out with my best now.
He took Jesus to an even higher spot upon a mountain, letting him survey the beauty of all the kingdoms below. And then very slowly and deliberately, the devil whispered into Jesus’ ear, “Listen. See all this? All this will I give to you , if only you fall down and worship me.” He paused and then spat out, “I triple, dog dare you!” And in his head he was already laughing with victory.
Now Jesus, angered, firmly said, “Get away, Satan! The very truth is that ‘you shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.
There was utter shocked silence from the evil one. Finally, beat and humiliated, he turned and left.
Instantly upon his departure,, those very angels which had been spoken of, swooped in, and they comforted and ministered to the Lord, Jesus.
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