The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” 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. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:3–13, NIV84)
Jesus just could not stand the devil, a being who once lived near the throne of Almighty God but sought the glory for himself rather than his Creator. In John 8, Jesus calls him a murderer and a liar. That is ultimately what the devil did to himself and now wants to do to the rest of God’s creation. You see, he lied to himself. He convinced himself (somehow) that he could be God’s equal. This only brought about his complete and eternal destruction.
Given all that, we need to be wise about the enemy’s strategy. He will always begin by testing the truth and see if we will move off center. It is exactly what he did to Eve in the garden when he said to her, “Did God really say?” This question, and his ongoing twisting of the truth, ultimately caused the fall of Adam and Eve. In our text today he does the same thing with Jesus. At least he tries. In each temptation he used God’s Word and then twisted it so that if his offer were followed, Jesus would fall into sin, too. But Jesus did not!
Notice what Jesus did. Each time, He re-quoted the Word of God with the right intended meaning and foiled the devil’s plan. It is important for all of us to understand that the devil cannot cause us to do anything. He can only deceptively offer what he cannot even give and see whether we buy the lie. The perfect defense against the devil is the Word of God. The devil cannot deal with truth. The Holy Spirit rides on the words of truth and the only thing the devil can do is flee. Notice, that is exactly what he did here. The devil fled from Jesus. But please note one more thing — the devil only leaves until he can find another opportune time. He will always come back because he is a liar and a murderer. He is not satisfied until he destroys our faith.
Throughout our lifetime, it is vital that we stay true to the Word of God so that we might be able to spoil the devil’s attempts to destroy our lives. Some advice from the Apostle James, “Submit therefore to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”