Why Jesus won over Satan during Temptation: He knew who He was!
Jesus, just like all of us, was also tempted. Understanding why he was able to overcome such strong temptations is important for you and me to triumphantly walk our Christian life that is full of temptations too. The questions of why and how are totally different, and the story in Luke chapter 4 seems to tell us more of how He did it and not why. Of course, the answers to the why question are also there, and we can only see them if the Holy Spirit reveals them to us. Today is the day the Holy Spirit has brought it plain, hope we get blessed with it.
All the temptations that Jesus faced hinged on His identity. The Bible says that Jesus Christ was word and the word was with God and He was God Himself and nothing could be made without Him (John 1:1-3). When God, together with Jesus, decided that He (Jesus) would come down on earth, Jesus was to come as human and not necessarily as God (But the God thing was still in Him, just hidden or say less active or less used: He was still God). Literally, this was lowering His status and glory (Philippians 2:7); one who was in heaven in the greatest glory was to come down and live a humanly life, full of surprises!
What does the above come to?
We rarely think about the implications of what Jesus did, but they could have been many and so devastating. The lowering of someone's status from being God to just human is so huge that it can cause someone to lose faith in what he was! Think about it this way; you have been the president's son and so respected. For some reason, you are sent out of the palace onto the street to live a common life. After a long period of time on the street, it is highly possible you will live like a street person and not a president. It is highly possible you will lose faith in gaining your status back and so you will start acting like you still have it (proving to yourself and others that you are).
Jesus experienced a lot of pain, disrespect, mockery, and prejudice that would have been easily solved by Him proving He was God and yet rarely did He do that. Many questioned His identity, but it seems He had faith in who He was irrespective of what people thought and said of Him.
The temptations: Testing His identity
“If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread" (4:3, NIV), the first temptation goes.
In this temptation, the problem is NOT to turn stones into bread, it is to be the son of God. Satan was not seriously asking Jesus to make bread out of stone, he was wondering if Jesus knew and still believed in Himself as the true son of God. Believe me, almost all of us fail tests that come in that form because we always want to prove who we are and what we can do. And this is not about us being that which we prove, it is about us doubting it too.
Jesus knew well He was the son of God; making breads out of stone would not be a problem to God and so He let it pass. The question is; do you really believe you are the son of God? Are you up to now still working to prove to us that you are son of God? Do you really believe in what you can be or can accomplish? If so, why are you struggling to prove it to others? Just be it, live it, and people will simply see it. I suppose Satan saw that Jesus was seriously the son of God even when He did not make the bread out of the stone.
“I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours" (4:6-7, NIV), the second temptation goes.
The Bible says that the heaven and earth belongs to God, including all that dwell in heaven and on earth. Despite the fact that both the devil and Jesus knew well about this, the devil goes ahead and promises to give these things to Jesus only if He worshipped him. Still here the problem is not the riches or worshipping Satan, it is about Jesus believing that He is God and the riches already belong to Him and He Himself is the one to be worshipped.
Did I tell you a story of an MP (Member of Parliament) who becomes a hero by giving to people what actually was theirs in the beginning? Somebody has been asked to inject about 20 million shillings into your nearest health centre. He deducts about 10 millions and brings only 10 millions and makes you believe that he has struggled so much to make that commitment. What happens? He becomes a hero yet he has actually given only 50% of what actually belonged to you. I explained this in details in our article, the action-reward philosophy.
Jesus was God. Everything in the world and heaven was and is His. Believing in that while living the life He was living at the time of temptations would have been the problem. Fortunately, He did not lose His identity. He did not let the circumstances define who He was. He believed in Himself more than the devil expected.
"If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone"" (4:9-11, NIV), the third temptation goes.
For God's sake, the above temptations were not about who knows well the Bible verses, they were about who knows well the word of God. In this third temptation, the problem is neither throwing yourself down nor being protected by angels, it is about knowing and believing that you are a son of God. The devil knew Jesus was son of God. He (Satan) also knew that in case the son of God fell, the angels would indeed protect Him, but did Jesus knew that? Did Jesus Himself believe in that?
Certainly, we see Jesus knew Himself; He was a son of God. Even before the temptations, God had just said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased" (Luke 3:22), and here we are.
If we seriously knew who we are, few or no things would fail us. Yes, we have lived all our lives trying to prove to the world who we are, but the problem is we are not only proving to the world who we are but also to ourselves for we still have doubts. We do not have to do anything to prove who we are, we just have to be and live that which we are and certainly people and God will see it.
God tells us that it was all about us. We are the reason He left heaven and came to live among us. He was scolded, mocked, beaten, killed, and abused just for us because He loves us; He loves us beyond what we can comprehend or express. And yet we still doubt that and always ask Him to prove it and always want to try and see if it really is true by proving it to others! Let Jesus be our role model today. He knew who He was and believed in it even when the situation and circumstances were not good.
So are you living a life of proving to others that you are what you are? That you are a Christian? That you are a son of God? That you are from a great family? That you are knowledgeable, wise, and good? May God grant us all the serenity of knowing who we are in Him (we have a big article on this topic: Who are we?) and living our lives as already approved sons and daughters of God.
God bless you so much
And if you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior, today and now is the time. Repeat this prayer after me; "Oh God, I am happy I have met you today. All along you died for me and made me your real child yet never had I known that or believed it. I am so sorry for my sins and for hurting you. I kindly ask you Jesus to receive me and be with me always; count me now as your child who truly believes I belong with you. Thank you Jesus. Amen".
We believe you are now saved and we hope you believe in that too. Find a church near you and be part of their congregation for continuous fellowship or write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for guidance. God be with you.
The Complete You Ministry