Traditionally, this wild, barren mountain located northwest of Jericho is where Jesus went to pray and prove his humanity. He was in communion with God — his fasting was not a ritual, but alone, he was totally absorbed with the will of his Father. There had to be testing ground for this ministry.
Of course, as the Son of God, Jesus had power he could access at any time. Since he had no sinful nature, temptations of the flesh were useless against him. But Jesus took on humanity and this was where he was tested.
If he had overcome Satan with the power of his deity, then mankind would have been powerless against Satan’s wiles. Therefore he “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
In identifying with man, Jesus had the power to yield; he had the power to sin — but he also had the power not to sin. And this is the faith we can have because he overcame sin.
Satan came at Jesus in three vital points: First, in his physical weakness — hunger. To turn the stones into bread would have been to not only distrust God’s power to care for his own, but in greater depth, it would have also have implied that Christ came to only minister to physical needs.
But Jesus came as the Bread of Life. It is no wonder Satan tried to negate that divine purpose with this particular temptation. Jesus refuted Satan with a quote from the Scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).
The Son of God came to earth to give man more than bread for the physical. He did not come to supply bread to man, but he himself is the spiritual bread — the Bread of Life.
The second temptation was to “cast thyself down” or “put God to the test.” Satan quoted from Psalms, but left out an important clause: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” We are not to tempt God and that is what Jesus rebutted Satan with — another quote from Deuteronomy 6:16.
Ambition came into play in the third temptation: “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). What? A shortcut to world rule? For one thing, it wasn’t Satan’s to give; for another, if it had been and God had been defeated, what an empty victory for Satan.
Again, Jesus used the Scripture as he commanded, “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:20, Deuteronomy 6:13). Jesus chose the way of the cross.
Yes, the only weapon Christ used was the Scripture and his use of it in God’s will brought him from the wilderness in triumph over Satan that we can walk in the ways of God.
Jesus entered the struggle with Satan as a man and he called on no other power than that which is available to any one of his children.
We may be troubled, but through Him, we are not distressed. The flesh views living for Christ as hard, but His grace gives endurance with joy. Man likes to go the easiest route, but strength comes from overcoming obstacles.