June 17 (Matthew 4:10)
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your
We often read the temptation of Jesus as a story about the power of knowing Scripture and using it to fight temptations in our own lives. This is a perfectly good way to read the story, and indeed Jesus does use Scripture to combat Satan. Yet if Jesus really is God, the second person of the Trinity and the Lord of all, then there is another way to see this interaction between Him and Satan.
Picture it. There is Jesus, exhausted in His humanity from forty days of fasting, and the smiling, oily, manipulating tempter approaches, challenging His identity as the Son of God by suggesting He turn stones into bread. Jesus fills His lungs with hot, desert air and replies that man doesn’t live by bread alone (verses 3-4). Satan tries again (verses 5-7) by suggesting He throw Himself off the top of the temple in Jerusalem. This time there is fire in Jesus’s eyes when answers, “Don’t tempt the Lord your God!” Remember, He is not only a human quoting Scripture, He is also talking about Himself. He is God and He is the Lord. It is as if He is saying, “Back off, if you know what’s good for you,” for tempting God is exactly what the devil is doing. And then the tempter shows his hand. He wants to be God himself and commands Jesus to worship him. This time there is thunder in His voice and lightning flashing from His dark eyes. “Get out of here, Satan! YOU will worship ME!”
This is not a story about a super nice guy at church who has a Bible verse ready for all occasions. This is the story of your big brother stepping in between you and your enemy and getting in that enemy’s face. And the natural response of any child, and we are all children before God, is to say, “I want to be just like Him when I grow up!”
Jesus, I do want to be just like You. I want to be strong in the face of weakness and steadfast in the face of temptation. Make the words of Scripture become my own flesh and help me to stand boldly against all that comes my way, just as You did. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 by Steven R. Perkins