At that time Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John on the Jordan River to be baptized by him. John did not want to baptize him. He said, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you. And yet, you have come to me.” But Jesus answered him, ” Let it be so for now. We must do everything that God requires.” So , John agreed.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down upon him like a dove and settled on him. Then a voice came from heaven and said, “this is my own dear Son, with whom I am very pleased.”
The Spirit took Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the Devil. For forty days and forty nights, he had nothing to eat. He became very hungry. Then the Devil approached him and said; “If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread so you can satisfy your hunger.” But Jesus answered him, “Human beings do not live on bread alone, but on every word that God speaks.”
Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem, the Holy City, and set him on the highest point of the Temple and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off from here for the Scriptures say that, “God will order his angels to hold you with their hands and not even your feet will touch the stones.'” But Jesus answered him, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
The Devil then took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the cities of the world in all their glory and said, “I will give all these to you, but only if you kneel down and worship me.” Jesus answered him, “Go away Satan! The Scripture says, “Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” Then the Devil left Jesus and angels came and served him.
Jesus was taken into the desert not by the Devil, but by the Holy Spirit to be strengthened and equipped for the task that lay ahead of him. The tests by the Devil were to form part of what Jesus would expect in his earthly ministry. We are also often taken into the wilderness to be tested in order to determine the strength of our faith. Jesus’ response to the tests should teach us how to respond in the face of temptation. Jesus knew the the Devil was making these offers to Jesus not for Jesus’ benefit, but for his (the Devil’s) benefit. He tempts us so that he can remove God’s protection from us and then get an opportunity to destroy us. Without us agreeing to his temptation, the Devil will have no power upon us.
Even at his weakest point, Jesus was still stronger than the Devil. The Devil realised that on the third temptation, and from henceforth he would obey any instruction given in the name of Jesus. That is why when Jesus orders him to go, he leaves. Jesus knew that the powers that he had were not given for his own sake, but for the sake of humanity. The baptism was not necessary for him, but he did it for our sake. That is why he could not turn the stones into bread even though he was hungry. He refused to accept control of the kingdoms of the world when a weakling like us would have been tempted to accept. He refused to jump from the top of the temple as he had nothing to prove to the Devil. The Devil has no power over us, but relies on the power that we give him. He would like to pretend that he still has power when he doesn’t. The Devil is actually a thief and a liar. The kingdoms that he offered to Jesus did not actually belong to him but belonged to God. Whatever he promises you is actually a trap so that he can abuse you at a later stage.
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It is important that we should be very discerning and be able to distinguish between things offered to us by God and those offered by the Devil. To do so, we need to be guided by the Holy Spirit. To receive the wholly spirit, we need to be baptized as Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan. The temptation of Jesus represents the victory of good over evil. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob be with you. Amen.