Matthew 4:8-11 – Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.”All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
It had been 40 intense days of testing. Jesus must have been starving. He had been without food for 40 days and nights. He was lonely. In the desert without any company but the devil. And, the devil was doing all that he could to tempt God.
In a last ditch attempt to distract Jesus, Satan offers Him the world. Upon showing Christ the kingdoms of the world and their splendor, Satan says, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.’
Jesus responds with righteous indignation.
He begins by saying, “Away from me Satan!”
And, in the statement we learn something. Satan has to flee when Christ commands him to. There is no fight left in Satan after Christ defeats him again. Satan thought he had Jesus right where he wanted him. But, Jesus is God. He cannot be tempted. He cannot sin. He cannot fail a test. He is all powerful. And, Satan is not.
Jesus continues His rebuke of Satan by quoting Scripture. He said, “For it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only'” (Deuteronomy 6:13). And, Christ teaches us another lesson. (He’s already taught it twice in the temptation account.) The lesson is that Satan and temptation are defeated with the Word of God. When the tempter comes if we are not equipped with the Word of God, we will fall. My college chancellor was fond of saying, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I would say that if we don’t hold firm to the Word of God, we’ll fall for anything.
The final thing I’d like you to notice from this passage is that spiritual warfare is draining. When Satan left, Jesus was attended to by angels. It’s one of two places that you’ll see that in the New Testament. You also see this happen when Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane. In the Garden, Jesus was under extreme duress. He was actually sweating drops of blood. Modern doctors have speculated that Jesus was probably suffering from a rare and deadly condition brought on by the stress, and that if the angels had not have come and ministered to Him in the Garden that Christ might have actually died there.
I wonder if He was under similar stress here. If, at the beginning of His ministry, he was also close to death. He was, after all, without food for 40 days. He did engage in spiritual battle with the devil. He was isolated. Just as God sent angels to minister to His Son, so God provides strength for us when we go through spiritual battle. In the midst of the storm, it can seem overwhelming. We may feel like we are going to be swallowed up. But, God will bring strength. He will help us through the battle. He will equip you for every good work.
May you be given strength as you walk through your daily life.
Thank You for the example that Jesus set for us here. Thank You that we do not have a Savior who is unfamiliar with temptation and trial. Thank You that You set the example for how to defeat our enemy in a spiritual battle. Help us to be people of prayer and Your Word.
In Jesus’ name,