“That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist (p. 142).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Christ’s temptation is an example for us that we should follow in his steps when tempted. Christ was tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin.
Satan attempts to have Jesus satisfy the “lust of the flesh” in the form of the most basic and seemingly harmless of human needs. Jesus is hungry, and Satan tempts him to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger. To use his divine power in response to a prodding of Satan, however, would be an act of sin. Jesus will later multiply loaves for others (14.13-21; 15.29-39), but he will not for himself. Temptation often offers itself as an illegitimate or premature fulfillment of a legitimate need.
Sin will keep you from the Bible or the Bible will keep you from sin. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 in response to Satan. Jesus’ response models the verse he quotes, as he chooses to live in light of God’s word rather than satisfy his hunger. Jesus finds the truth of God’s word sufficient to sustain him and to triumph in temptation.
Psalm 119:11 (ESV) I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Wherever the precise point is located, Satan tells Jesus to leap from the temple and allow angels to rescue him (It is fitting that Jesus is ministered to by angels in verse 11). As before, Satan presents this as a suitable action for the “Son of God.” Satan quotes Psalm 91:11-12 to prove his point (the fact that Satan can quote Scripture is a terrifying thought!). Scripture misinterpreted is the work of Satan (prosperity gospel). This would be an appeal to the “pride of life” as Satan is tempting Jesus to vindicate himself.
Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:16 which refers to Israel’s unbelief at Rephidim when Moses struck the rock which brought forth water. Jesus doesn’t need to be validated or for his Father to prove anything.
Satan tempts Jesus with the kingdoms of the world and their glory. This is ironic because these kingdoms will ultimately belong to Jesus when his kingdom is fully realized (Rev. 11:15). The glory of kingdoms reeks of human ambition, worldly pride, and approval of the masses. Satan provides a shortcut to an inferior inheritance which would forfeit “the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories” (1 Pet. 1:11)
Revelation 11:15 (ESV)
15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
Jesus responds, commanding Satan to depart from him. Satan’s temptation to violate the first commandment is unthinkable to Jesus. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:13 after emphatically rebuking Satan and commanding him to leave him. Just like the first temptation in Eden, every temptation is a challenge of God’s Lordship and an attempt to rob Him of the worship due Him.
After remaining sinless through this temptation, it is evident that Jesus is greater than Adam. After being served by angels, it is evident that he is greater than angels. Even the ministry of angels vindicates Jesus’ identity as the Son of God.
Hebrews 4:15 (ESV) For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Follow Jesus example in order to overcome temptation.
1 John 2:15-17 (ESV) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.