Satan Trying Jesus' Faith in the WildernessVolume 3, Number 4
Created Date: July 17, 2008
Posted Date: July 17, 2008
The faith of Jesus: Satan's testing in the Wilderness - Part 1:
We observed in our last study that the first incident after Jesus' introduction into public life/ ministry was when the Devil tempted Him in the wilderness.
Here we note the stark difference in (the first man) Adam's faith, or lack thereof, as compared to that of Jesus. Adam lived in a beautiful lush garden, with a helpmate God created from Adam's body to provide emotional, intellectual and physical companionship. All the food necessary surrounded him, just for the picking. All the animals created by God were his companions and playmates, not one would have harmed him. The Word that God gave Adam to obey was singular, straightforward and simple. He was not to eat the fruit from one of the many trees in the Garden. All Adam had to do to maintain the status quo was, by faith, to obey God's Word and not eat from that one tree. Adam didn't even have to face Satan's trial or temptation directly and so he was not deceived,, but went along willingly with his wife, thus knowingly breaking faith in God's Word.
Now we compare this with what the second Adam (Jesus,) went through. He went willingly into the harsh wilderness, or desert, as we know it. There He existed on the hard dirt and rocks for 40 days and nights taking no food during the entire time, all the while surrounded by wild beasts waiting to devour Him. He was alone except for visits by the wicked adversary Satan who tried His faith in God's Word. And this did not just happen. God Himself provided the circumstances for we see that immediately after God ordained Jesus for His ministry (the Spirit of God came on Him and the Father pronounced that He was indeed His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased) that the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, Matthew 3:16 - 4:1; ; .
In, three (3) different instances are recorded of Satan tempting Jesus. Mark's account does not give the specifics of the Devil's temptations. In three (3) temptations are recorded, which appear similar to those in Matthew. However, there are variances in the both the order and the content of the temptations given by Matthew and Luke respectively and these differences will be observed as we review them in future studies. There are two possible explanations for the variation between what Matthew and Luke wrote; 1) it may be that Matthew recorded three temptations that are similar but different and occurring at different times than those recorded by Luke or; 2) it may be that the Holy Spirit inspired the two writers to emphasize different aspects of what happened in the same three incidents. The first explanation appears much more likely, as we will see. So, by putting together what is recorded in Matthew 4, and Luke 4 we get a complete picture of what Jesus endured for 40 days and nights. At any rate, we will see that when Satan tempted Jesus he was actually questioning the truth of God's Word and thus trying the faith of The Man Jesus.
As we will see, there is really no telling how many total times Satan actually tempted Jesus over the 40 day period. But it is not happenstance that the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew and Luke to record a total of six instances of God's perfect man being tried/ tempted. Six is the number for man throughout God's Word. Many examples could be given but for example: God created man on the sixth day; man was destined to work six days (and rest on the seventh); and the future number marking the anti-christ will be 666.
By way of summary, we see that Jesus began His public ministry under the very harshest conditions and it did not stop there for His was a life full of loneliness and suffering and finally ended in the worst possible way. In order to grasp the full meaning of His life we need to compare it to that of humanity. When we start our lives we have no idea what is ahead, much less how or when we will die. Look around at most all youth, they live as if there is no end in sight. Compare this with the second person of the Trinity, the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us,. He was well aware from eternity past; from the time He created Adam; and from the time His own human feet hit the ground, exactly what lay ahead for Him. But He did it anyway. There is only one possible motive for what He did and that is Real Love, and most amazingly, that love was for a bunch of people who had rejected Him and sinned against Him: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." .
Our next study will begin to examine the six temptations Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, faced in the wilderness.