DRAWING THE BATTLE LINES
Lord, I delight in You and in Your word.
Read Luke 4:1–13
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted[a] by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’[b]”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’[c]”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[d]”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[e]”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
a Luke 4:2 The Greek for tempted can also mean tested.
b Luke 4:4 Deut. 8:3
c Luke 4:8 Deut. 6:13
d Luke 4:11 Psalm 91:11,12
e Luke 4:12 Deut. 6:16
New International Version (NIV)
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Reflect“I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psa. 119:11). Ask God to plant the truths of his Word deep in your heart.
The temptations were not a once-and-for-all encounter. Satan’s departure was only “until an opportune time” (13). The taunting “If you are…” (3,9) mocks Jesus even on the cross (Luke 23:35–39). Fully, hungrily and wearily human, Jesus uses no secret weapon to contend with “the spiritual forces of evil” (Eph. 6:12b). His “It is written…” (4,8,12) reminds us that spiritual warfare is waged and won with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17).
Wielding this sword safely and effectively involves learning to handle the word of truth correctly (2 Tim. 2:15), so that Satan may not distort it as he did with Eve (Gen. 3:1) and with Jesus (10).
Jesus’ victory over Satan in the wilderness didn’t mean there would be no more temptations. But there in the desert, the battle lines were drawn. Jesus had declared his intent to live life according to God’s will and dedicated himself to doing life God’s way—the way of the cross. “Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you” (Charles Spurgeon, All of Grace). Jesus did this. Do we?
“I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect Your word” (Psa. 119:16). How will you make this a regular reality in your life?
Lord, help me to stand strong when tempted to do wrong.