Thursday after the First Sunday after Epiphany
Scripture: St. Luke 4:1-13 (NKJV)
4:1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.'”
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'”
9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'”
13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Your Lord has experienced them in His own flesh. He knows the alluring siren song of appetites, for He was in the wilderness fasting forty days when Satan tempted Him to turn stones into bread. He experienced the temptation to take the easy path of self-gratification and forsake the suffering of the cross. He was tempted to put God to the test to see if He would really give good things. He endured all these temptations and yet was without sin. Because He sympathizes with your weakness, He wants you to pray to Him for deliverance in your hour of temptation.
He endured temptation so that He might do more than just sympathize with you, but defeat Satan for you. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). In Christ Jesus there is a man who has overcome Satan’s temptations and fought the devil with the Word of God, driving him away. Jesus defeats the devil for us in the wilderness, and at the cross when He dies to satisfy God’s wrath against sinners. Because Christ has died for our sins and given us that treasure by faith, we now may stand against the old evil foe, armed with God’s promises, and follow in our Savior’s steps. He promises that “with the temptation He will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Lord Jesus, as You defeated the devil in Your temptations, so defend us in the midst of our temptations and provide a way of escape. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.