In today’s reading we see the temptation of Christ. Satan tries his best to get Jesus to skip the sacrificial death in God’s plan. Lucifer even offers to hand everything over if Jesus will change His direction of fulfilling the Father’s will. If we look a bit deeper at the temptations we will see what was behind them. When Satan wanted Jesus to turn the stone into bread and to have Jesus jump from the temple, I do not believe that it was just for the purpose of a meal or disobedience. The Jews, under Roman rule, were kept content and paying taxes because the Romans kept them fed and entertained. If Jesus were to do these two things the people would have crowned Him king on the spot. We will see later that Jesus had to slip away before the people took Him by force and made Him king. If Jesus would have taken the easy route and skipped the cross His reign would only have been an earthly reign. Jesus came to save men from sin, not from Rome. When these two temptations failed, Satan offered the kingdom to him with out a fight if He would bow to him. Once again, this would remove the sacrificial death on the cross.
We need to make sure that we see how Jesus, the son of God, defeated Satan’s temptations. Jesus did not debate Lucifer (although He could have and He would have won) He instead relied on the Word of God. Each and every attempt by the evil one was combated with the Word. With the truth of the Word Satan has no foot hold. It is interesting that Satan stopped after three attempts. Lies cannot stand up against the truth. Psalm 119:105 states “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…” If Eve would have trusted in the truth of God’s Word she never would have eaten the forbidden fruit. After doubting God’s word she denied God’s Word then, tragically, she disobeyed God’s Word.
Now we see, as I mentioned yesterday, the message of Jesus. He begins His ministry by preaching “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17). Jesus not only demanded repentance, but He also said that the Kingdom was “at hand.” So often people view the Kingdom of heaven to be in eternity only, but it is not. When Jesus came he set up a Kingdom without borders. Jesus set up a Kingdom without discretion of race, ethnicity, gender or social status. The thing that makes people part of the Kingdom is a renewed Spirit through repentance. When trusting in Christ for the remission of sins and turning from those sins people become the son’s and daughters of God. This happens right here, and right now, not some time in the future. Kingdom dwellers obey their new found King.
I John 3:3 “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us that we should be called the son’s of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew not Him.”