Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan in Eden as recorded in Genesis 3. In contrast to them, the Spirit led Jesus not toward a fruitful garden, but into a desolate wasteland. He had been fasting for a very lengthy time and “He was hungry.” Though the outward circumstances were more favorable for the first man and woman, Jesus passed the important test that Adam and Eve had failed so long ago.
Our Savior had victory over Satan by using simple passages from the Bible. He answered the temptations of the devil with quotations from Deuteronomy 6-8. In that section of the Law, Moses had prepared Israel for the tests of faithfulness that they would soon face in the land of Canaan. He reminded them that God had fed them with manna during their journey through the wilderness in order that they would learn that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 8:13 and Matthew 4:4). When Israel came into the Promised Land, they needed to remember that God was the source of good gifts. They had to be warned not to “put the Lord your God to the test,” and they needed to “worship” and “serve” only the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:16, 6:13, and Matthew 4:7, 4:10).
Adam failed as the representative man for all of his posterity, and Israel also disobeyed Jehovah as His chosen nation, but Jesus perfectly obeyed. He skillfully used the Scriptures to expose the enticements of the ancient serpent. With this victory over a fallen angel, our Lord began His ministry in Galilee in fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1-2, that “Galilee of the Gentiles” would see “a great light.”
The message that Jesus began to preach was much like that of John the Baptist. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Yet there were many important differences between John and Jesus. The Son of God spoke with even greater authority than John, since He was God in the flesh. He brought life to those who would find His call to discipleship irresistible. First Simon and Andrew, and later the sons of Zebedee, “immediately” left their boats behind and followed the Lord.
The Word of Christ was also powerful to heal. The account of the miracles of Jesus spread rapidly, and people were coming to Him from all around. He was healing “every affliction” and helping “those oppressed by demons.” The Old Testament prophets made the case against the evil of the nation and announced a future era of holy blessing. Jesus was different. He destroyed evil and defeated the devil and death. He came in the strength of the coming age of resurrection. No powers of darkness could resist His command.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious Lord, we do not understand the minds of men, so how can we fathom the thoughts and actions of angels? Yet men and angels are all perfectly known by You. By Your Word Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan. He would not be distracted from His mission. Thank You for the light that has dawned upon us in the life and work of our King. We have been granted eyes to see Him as our hearts have been made alive by the Holy Spirit. When our Savior called us to follow Him, we were given the grace to leave the world behind and to serve the Messiah. Remind us day by day of the greatness of our King, lest we foolishly return to the way that leads to death.