The Obedient Son: Dec. 16
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,“‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’and“‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,“‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Matthew 4:1-11
What was the temptation in the wilderness? At its core, Satan offered Jesus a crown without a cross. He offered glory without humility. He offered exaltation without painful obedience. He offered a throne without a tomb.
As with most temptations, these were subtle—starting at first with just the simple encouragement to make a loaf of bread with divine power. But in that subtle question, Jesus saw a diabolical trap. Jesus could not truly provide a record of righteousness if He did not truly face mankind’s temptations.
He would not use His divine power to mitigate the reality of His human obedience. And He did not come merely to rule as a human tyrant, but to rescue as a Redeemer. He did not merely want humanity’s submission, but their salvation. And most importantly of all—Jesus was God the Son, and He would not worship anyone or anything other than His Father. Unlike those who worshiped the golden calf in the wildness, unlike David who used his power for his own cravings, and unlike you and me in our willingness to satisfy our sins rather than worship our Creator, Jesus said, “No.”
And in this refusal we have a record of righteousness that will stand in our place before God forever. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your righteousness. Thank you for saying “no” to every temptation, so that all of your promises of salvation could be “yes” for us forever.