In the beginning of Matthew 4, the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights. He didn’t eat for that entire time, so needless to say he was pretty hungry at this point. Suddenly, the Devil shows up and challenges him: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (4:3). He was basically telling Jesus to prove himself. Instead of giving in to his hunger, Jesus replied that humans don’t only need to fill themselves with food, they need to fill themselves with the word of God. In other words, Jesus was saying that even if someone has a fully stocked pantry and an overflowing fridge, they still aren’t full unless they are also listening to God.
The devil then tries to sway Jesus two more times, first by telling him to jump off a temple and then by telling him everything in sight could be his if only Jesus would worship him. He makes it seem like such a simple thing: all Jesus has to do is bow down to him, and he could own the whole world. And yet, all three times the devil tries to tempt him, Jesus resists, saying that the Lord should not be tested and he will serve only Him.
The fact that the Holy Spirit led Jesus ‘into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil’ (4:1) was mind-boggling to me at first. Would God really try to tempt us to sin? The answer is no. God does test us by bringing certain situations into our lives to provide us with a chance to do right. The devil, however, tempts us—he wants us to do evil and sin. Look at James 1:13-14:
When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their evil desire and enticed’.
When Jesus prevails over the devil’s temptation, we see that temptations don’t absolutely have to end in sin. We can prevail against temptation.
After the devil realizes he can’t sway Jesus’ faith, he leaves. After hearing of John the Baptist’s imprisonment, Jesus starts preaching. “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven has come near” (4:17). Next, Jesus then heads toward Galilee. On his way, he gathers his first four disciples, Simon (also called Peter), Andrew, James, and John. When Jesus told them to follow him, they didn’t question him, but immediately left with him.
They continued on through Galilee, where Jesus began preaching the word of God and healing the sick. Not only was he healing those with sicknesses of the body, he was healing those suffering from sicknesses of the mind and heart.
and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them (4:24)
What does this mean for us? Jesus is willing to heal us even when we’re possessed by sin.
My Personal Prayer
Lord, please help me to overcome the devil’s temptations, and help me cleanse my mind of sin.