Jesus’ Pathway to Our Redemption
“Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Luke 22:42
When Jesus was about to enter into his earthly ministry He came out to the place where John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River. As He came up out of the water the voice of God was heard from Heaven confirming Him to be the Son of God. John saw it and heard it.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried toprevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be sonow, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice camefrom heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:14-17
From His baptism He was immediately lead into the wilderness to endure fasting for forty days and nights and to be tempted by the devil.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.” Matthew 4:1-2
After forty days of fasting His body was weak, His emotions surely were drained and His mind must have been at its lowest level of ability to think clearly as one would be at normal strength and full mental capacity. It is in that moment that the devil comes to tempt Him, most certainly thinking he had Jesus right where he wanted Him and He would have no defense against what ever the devil might use to try to tempt Him.
So he started with His flesh. When a man or woman is ultimately hungry, one of the strongest urges we have in our human makeup is to survive. We will eat almost anything to satisfy the powerful need to assuage hunger.
“Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” Matthew 4:3-4
Failing to get Jesus to give into His human need for food by using His Godhead power to create bread from stones, the devil turns to tempting Jesus’ faith in God the Father by daring Him to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple to demonstrate to the devil that He really is the Son of God, as if Jesus needed the devil’s approval or endorsement. There was also another sinister aspect to this temptation because it would have taken place in the presence of all the Jews gathered at the Temple for prayer and would have made a spectacle of Jesus before the world, that He was ruled by the whims of the devil. Yet again the devil was foiled in his plot.
“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Matthew 4:5-7
Three times now Jesus defeats the temptations of the devil by speaking the truth of the Word of God. It is noteworthy that the devil, who is a liar, picked up on the fact that Jesus was countering him with the Word of God so he tries to quote scripture to give credence to his temptations, but he misquotes the Word and thus misses the full meaning of what he was trying to say. In reciting the scripture, “He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” he failed to include the phrase “to keep you in all your ways.”
“For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91:11-12
This is significant because the promise is that the angels are not sent to Jesus conditionally, but comprehensively. There is no instance, or circumstance, or time in His life when they will not be there to keep Him (as a man) in all His ways, even in the midst of being tempted by the devil. Again Jesus had nothing to prove to the devil and He defeats him again with the Word.
Defeated twice, now the devil makes one more attempt to snare Jesus in a trap to take Him away from His intended purpose, our full redemption through His suffering, death, burial and Resurrection.
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” Matthew 4:8-11
This final temptation may escape some people in the profound implications it poses. First it is a temptation to have Jesus receive all the kingdoms of the world, without having to face death on the cross. The devil is tempting Jesus to “just” worship him and he (the father of lies) will then reciprocate by giving up his dominance over the kingdoms of the world which he has ruled over by fear, destruction, poverty, sickness disease, wars, disasters, inhumanity and death over the whole earth from the days of the fall of Adam and Eve until the time of Jesus’ ministry.
From the very first miracle Jesus would perform He would be waging and offensive war against the devil and all his minions. He would be setting captives free from their sin, sickness, poverty and death by which the devil had held them captive.
There is yet another false notion that the devil held which is sadly the attitude of many people today who don’t understand the work of salvation and the reason Jesus had to die and be raised from the dead.
The devil thought that Jesus just wanted to rule over the nations and be the King of the world. What he did not realize was that Jesus did not come just come to gather up a multitude of people who were dead in their sins and iniquities; and they would all live happily ever after.
No. He came to win people to the Father so that their lives could be transformed. He didn’t come to save sinners so they could just go on living in their sins and still ultimately die in eternal separation from God because of sin. He came to save sinners so they can be transformed into the image of the Holy One and thereby, be in fellowship and communion with God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, and with one another for all eternity.