Immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him. Mark 1:12-13 (NASB)
The inclusion of Satan in the series “Encounters With The Messiah” may raise some eyebrows, but there is a good reason for this. To be honest I was going to pass this by in favour of the next human recipient, but as I pondered I soon realised that if I ignored this subject I would be doing Satan a favour. He loves it when we ignore him skulking in the dark, it is when our back is turned to him he will attack (1 Peter 5:8). So today let us shine a light in his face and recognise the threat he poses. For be sure that an enemy who attacked Christ won’t think twice about attacking us.
Our story begins immediately after the Lord’s baptism by John in the Jordan, and His subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit. This was in preparation for the trials to come in the wilderness. The temptation of Christ, the second Adam mirrored the temptation of the first Adam in Eden. Christ’s temptation like Adam’s was a test of allegiance, Satan searching for a way to cause a separation from Almighty God. This is also true in our life, when at the moment of great blessing the enemy will try to sever our holy bond to God by temptation. Satan always seeks to break our finest bone china!
In His fasting and praying for forty days, Christ was constantly tempted. Exactly how we do not know, but probably He was tempted to break His fast at the very least. It was at the end of the forty days that Satan came directly to Christ, his last chance to break the heavenly bond. In scripture we find the account of three separate temptations offered by Satan; food, test of pride and, the lust for materialism. Christ rebuffs all three temptations (Hallelujah!) with rebukes from the Law scriptures (Deuteronomy), which are starkly accurate. Incidentally the one scripture reference from Satan is his own abridged version of Psalm 91:11-12. As he did in the garden with Eve, Satan twists the Words of God to suit His purpose. Be aware, he will do the same with us too. This is all the more reason to know our scripture intimately. Having failed to tempt Christ Satan’s final gambit was to try and elicit homage from Him which earned a scathing rebuke, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” (Matthew 4:10). Satan skulked off into the darkness to await further opportunities in the future, while angels from Heaven ministered to our Lord.
Dear reader, rejoice in His victory over Satan in the wilderness and at Calvary, the Tempter is no match for the Messiah! But beware he prowls around seeking opportunities to attack the children of God. He seeks to tempt us in the midst of great blessing and in times of despondency. Always be alert and armed with the Word of God in your heart.