What a test for the enemy! If he could get the Son to sin, he would retain dominance! And so he encountered the Son personally.
Jesus knew that Satan is aware of his future – hopeless and dark and bleak. Jesus’ earthly experience was Satan’s last chance at retaining dominance.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry” Luke 4:1,2.
We talk a lot in these blogs about encounters with the Lord – we are hopeful and expectant. But not every encounter is up and to the right – as Jesus experienced with the great foe. What an example to us as it is inevitable that we will face similar things.
And now the Son becomes truly man – the second Adam – to live a life fully pleasing to God. What a test for the enemy! If he could get the Son to sin, he would retain dominance! And so he encountered the Son personally. I believe that Satan spends his time where best used – remember that he is a created being and is in one place at one time. I look for him where the greatest destruction and sorrow can happen in the world. The rest of the world is attended to by his minions. I don’t think you or I have ever faced the devil himself – but I believe that Satan personally dogged Jesus’ footsteps through His earthly life and ministry. Imagine that! Here in the wilderness was a great test of the man Jesus. Satan used the tried-and-true temptations that had kept sinful humankind in agreement with his domination since Adam and Eve.
Think of this – Jesus knew Satan from heaven before his fall into sin. The façade that the enemy uses so well with us didn’t faze Jesus – He could see behind it. He knew that Satan had left the glories of heaven to wander the earth. He knew that Satan was consumed with bitterness at having failed in his coup and that he seeks to destroy the image of God in those God has made. Jesus knew that Satan is aware of his future – hopeless and dark and bleak. Jesus’ earthly experience was Satan’s last chance at retaining dominance.
What do we take away from this encounter today? Matthew tells us that after this grueling time with the enemy, angels came and ministered to the Saviour. The writer of Hebrews tells us (1:14) that angels are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation – that’s you and me! We have only a small awareness of the spirit world all around us, but praise God these ministers attend to us when we need it!
The first verse of today’s passage reminds us that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit – the same Spirit’s fullness is available to you and me today – we simply ask for it!
The devil masquerades as an angel of light. He is described as a roaring lion, but as Jesus shows us, he is a defeated foe. I heard Dr. Ross Rhoads say: “When the devil reminds me of my past, I remind him of his future.” Resist him and he will flee from us. This is an encounter we can survive – because the Master Jesus did!
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings” I Peter 5:8,9.
Pastor Leon Throness