This is one of the most mysterious passages found in the New Testament. It has been the focus of many questions from both skeptics and scholars. But it is not my purpose to debate. I am on a journey; to turn down all the noise and constant distraction from our society, and spend time reading only Jesus’ words from the New Testament to see what He has to say. “If Jesus is who he said he was, then the only thing that truly matters are His words.”
Jesus’ first recorded conversation in Matthew 3 is with John the Baptist, where He announces his ministry through the act of baptism. Next, he has a conversation with the devil.
~ Matthew 4:1-11 The Temptation of Jesus ~
There are a few important facts worth noting from this passage before looking at Jesus’ response.
1. There is a devil, who tempts us and tries to deceive us.
2. There is a Spirit (God) who allows this to happen.
3. The kingdoms of this world belong to Satan, and he wants to be worshiped over God.
4. There are angels to minister to us in time of need.
When Jesus responds to Satan’s attempts, He speaks with authority. He does not need to prove anything. Nor does He argue with Satan. He responds by quoting the Word of God, which Satan cannot dispute. And, Jesus has the power to tell Satan to leave.
This conversation also tells us about the nature of Satan, through one single word – “if”.
“If you are the Son of God…,” Satan said. Satan knew exactly who Jesus was and even quoted scripture himself. But by saying “if”, he was introducing doubt. Satan tries to make us doubt what we already know. How many times have we chosen to do something which we knew better? As Christians, we have the spirit of Jesus within us at all times, and we have the same authority through Jesus Christ to tell Satan to leave. We don’t have to prove anything either.
When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, at His weakest, alone and hungry, He was able to feel as we feel, and to understand our temptations and struggles. Through His words, He has given us the way to resist the tempter and his doubts.