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Gospel according to Luke 4: 1-13 (NIV)
1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
The source of this account of the temptations of Jesus and his overcoming of them must be Jesus himself. Was his reason for telling his disciples to warn and to teach them how to resist Satan? For Jesus’ warnings and teachings about resisting the devil are repeated in the writings of the Apostles.
The threat is real. Peter warns us to be disciplined and to keep alert, for: “like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him …” (1 Peter 5: 8-9). Paul recognised the devil’s tactics: “the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, and every kind of wicked deception …” (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-10). John explained, “the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3: 8).
All are vulnerable. Paul knew the inherent nature of sin. He wrote to the church in Rome, “with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin” (7: 25). He warned the church in Ephesus, “do not make room for the devil” (4: 27). “Put on the whole armour of God,” he told them, “so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (6: 11).
Rely on God. To the Ephesians, Paul explained that to stand against the devil, we need truth, righteousness, the gospel proclaimed, faith, the salvation won by Jesus and full reliance on the Spirit, on the word of God. James, brother of Jesus wrote: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (4: 7-8).
Commit anew to confronting the devil whenever he appears. Recognise temptation when it first arises, identify it as the work of the evil one and resist it. Use Jesus’ words, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”