Time of Testing

Key Verse: “Saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
—Matthew 4:10

Selected Scripture:
Matthew 4:1-14

WHEN JESUS, AT 30 years of age, went to John the Baptist at Jordan to be baptized, “the heavens were opened unto him.” (Matt. 3:16) Having received the Holy Spirit, he could now see clearly into the Divine arrangements, and the purposes respecting himself, in a manner not possible before his consecration.

This illumination of our Lord’s mind carried his thoughts to the prophetic Psalm 40:7,8, which reads: “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” He was then impelled to go aside into the wilderness to think and pray, and to study what his course should be as outlined by the Law and the prophets.

For forty days and nights, his intense earnestness made him oblivious to almost everything else. Apparently, he neither ate nor slept until the forty days were ended, and he “was afterward an hungred.” (Matt. 4:2) It was then that Satan appeared, tempting Jesus at his weakest moment due to fasting. Our Lord was not approached with outright lies from the Adversary; but he was assaulted with subtle temptations. Wily foe that he is, Satan brought ‘kindly advice’ to the Redeemer’s mind, which—only on the surface—would cast him as a ‘concerned and helpful friend.’

First Satan suggested to Jesus that, since he had been fasting for a long time, he was doing himself injury, and said: “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The Master did not repulse his opponent, but in a kindly manner replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:3,4, Deut. 8:3) Continuing, Jesus said he would not use the holy power he possessed for his own comfort or benefit in any manner.

The Adversary, foiled in his first attempt, then presented a second subtle temptation to our Lord. “The Devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”—vss. 5,6

Our Lord was probably not actually taken on a ‘pinnacle of the temple,’ but Satan merely imparted a mental suggestion to Jesus that he demonstrate his holy power before the public. Jesus rebuffed him, however, when he said, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”—vs. 7

A third assault was now attempted by the Devil. We believe this was by mental suggestion like the second temptation. He took Jesus to a high mountain, showing him all the kingdoms of the world and he said, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (vss. 8,9) Again, our Lord protested with a final dissent, saying, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”—vs. 10

“Then the Devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”—vs. 11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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