Jesus’ Victory Over
Jesus was tempted in everything exactly as we are and “yet was
without sin” (Heb.4: 15).
He resisted temptation by subjecting Himself to the Spirit’s
power rather than by using His own divine nature (Luke 4: 1,
2; 13, 14). In fact, His ministry was performed under the
power of the Holy Spirit of God.
Jesus overcame his temptations over the world (1 Jn. 5:4);
over the flesh (Gal 5:16); and over the enemy (Eph.
1. Through The Word Of God
Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert to be tempted by the
devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry
(Matt. 4:1,2). But during this temptation, He defeated
Satan each time by using the Word of God. The Psalmist says,
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against
thee” (Psalm 119:11).
Let us compare Jesus’ temptation in Luke 4:1-13 with 1
Luke 4:1-13 1 John 2:16
Stones to bread “Lust of the flesh”
Kingdom of the earth “Lust of the eyes”
Pinnacle of the temple “Pride of life”
Satan tried to use the weapon ‘lust of the flesh’ against Jesus.
He tempted Jesus to use his power to convert the stones into
bread and quench his hunger.
This passage shows us a personal devil. The devil is not merely
a force or an influence, but a person. The devil tempts people
to do evil and accuses them before God (see Job 1:6-12;
2:1-6). Jesus was tempted in every part of His humanity, as
Satan was trying to make Jesus selfish or greedy or impatient
just for a moment. He said to Him, “If you are God’s Son, order
this stone to turn into bread.”
Jesus answered, “The Scripture says: Man cannot live by bread
Probably Jesus was saying that he came to fill the hungry that
needed more than bread. They need the Bread of Life and that’s
the Word of God.
Then the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of
the world, and said, “I will give you all this power and all
this wealth... if you worship me.”
Jesus answered, “The scripture says, worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.” (Matt. 4:10). In other words Jesus
was saying, “If I am God’s son I must do things God’s way, and
His way is different from yours. I bow to one person only and
that is God.”
Then the Devil took Him to Jerusalem and set Him on the highest
point of the temple, and said to Him, “If you are God’s Son,
throw yourself down from here...”
Jesus answered, “The scripture says, do not put the Lord your
God to the test.” In other words Jesus was saying that He is
aware of the fact that God won’t let Him down, but there was no
need to prove that. Faith does not ask for proof. With God
there are no stunts, short cuts or cheap tricks.
Satan wanted Jesus to draw on his divine power to meet his need
instead of submitting to the will of God for his life. Jesus,
however, demonstrated something far more important. Rather than
showing He had the power to change rocks to bread, He showed He
was committed to God’s will. We can very well observe that His
commitment grew out of His understanding of scripture. Jesus not
only knew the scriptures, but also knew how to apply them to
God’s Word is a powerful weapon, but in order for that weapon to
be effective in your encounter with Satan and his demons there
are two basic requirements: (1) familiarity with the
weapon, and (2) using the weapon in the power of the
Be familiar with your weapon. When a soldier goes into basic
training he is given a rifle. That weapon becomes his closest
companion. He eats and sleeps with it. He must be able to take
it apart and put it together again blindfolded. Therefore you
must be familiar with Scripture. Give the maximum time possible
to learn all you can through the instruction of others and from
your own private reading and meditation.
When Satan confronts you with a specific temptation, use
God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit.
2. Through His Life, Death And
Faith in the person and work of Christ releases the Christian
from the power and dominion that sin had over him (Rom. 8:9).
He is now free to choose to walk in obedience to God (Rom.
Faith forms a battle line against every form of evil. Faith
finds the strength to be an overcomer of temptation. While it is
Christ who succors and delivers in temptation, the will of the
sanctified is in perfect harmony with the Holy nature of Jesus.
The modern conception of a holy life, mixed with sin,
worldliness, and carnal promptings and actions is not only
unscriptural, but also opposed to God and His holiness. In him
is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
“For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened
by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own son in the
likeness of sinful man... in order that the righteous
requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not
live according to the sinful nature [flesh] but according to the
spirit” (Rom. 8:3,4).
As Christians, we are called to live in victory!
Through Christ, this victory is ours.
We recognize Jesus as divine, but at the same time He was human
like any one of us. He was a young man when these temptations
occurred. These tests were not haphazard or random. They were
an organized and systematic attack on every aspect of a young
person’s life and career. They were directed against the
spiritual and vocational purposes of Jesus.
The tempter directed his first test at the physical condition of
our Lord. Satan attacked when Jesus was hungry and likely
In the first temptation the devil challenged Jesus as the Son of
God. It was a temptation of a private nature. Cleverly, the
devil uses Jesus’ deity as leverage to ply him into acting
independently of his Father. He tried to destroy Jesus by
drawing him away from His Father and His mission. Temptation is
not sin, for Christ was tempted as we are, yet remained sinless
(Heb.4: 15; Mt.4: 1; Lk.22: 28). Temptation becomes sin
only when and as the suggestion of evil is accepted and yielded
Satan also tempts us to forsake God’s purpose for our lives. He
will try to get us to use our God - given gifts for selfish ends
rather than in committed service for God.
The second temptation of Jesus appealed to the desire for
personal gain and glory. Having failed to lure Christ with
self-gratification, the devil attempts to catch him with the
offer of power. It wasn’t about physical needs. Jesus knew that
Psalm 91 is a call for God’s people to trust God to take
care of them. Jesus then quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 to show
the error of trying to back God in a corner and force him to do
A correct understanding of God’s word will help us know when
some one is misapplying scripture out of context. Satan casts
doubt on what God has said to us in the scripture. He challenges
our understanding of God’s word.
In the third test in the wilderness Satan again attacked the
spiritual life of Jesus. It was a temptation of a public
nature. Satan sought to get Jesus to turn away from his role as
the suffering Servant.
Jesus would not turn to worship anyone or anything other than
God. The reason he gave is based on the clear teaching of
scripture (Deut. 6:13). He ordered Satan to stop trying
to get him to turn away from the Father. With this, Satan left
and the angels came to attend Jesus (Matt. 4:11). When we
reject Satan’s offer then the angels would minister to us.
Perhaps you may say that the devil makes you to do certain
things. But the actual fact is, the devil can’t make us do
anything. He may be cleverly preparing the way and would lay the
bait. He takes note of our habits, and observes our hangouts.
Then he prepares a tailor - made lure and drops it right in
front of our noses. The choice is ours.
After laying the bait, he gives the appeal. He can’t make us
bite, but he knows what happens inside us when we catch a
glimpse of that tantalizing bait. Our fleshly nature draws us
to it. We linger over it, play around it and fantasize about it
in our minds until it consumes our imaginations.
Now our real struggle begins. Immediately, our conscience warns
us regarding the danger. We know it’s wrong to bite the bait.
We may even feel the barbed consequences starting to poke
through the bait. But Satan’s invitation looks so delicious and
you may take a mouth full till you realize the pain of the hook
in your cheek. It may be too late to come out of it because you
are already hooked. Always there is a way out, but you may
have to go through the consequences.
If Jesus had jumped off the pinnacle, his life would most likely
have been preserved, but not his mission. The rest was to see
whether he would draw all people to himself by relying on the
way of sensationalism or the way of the cross. Jesus chose the
No matter how cleverly and smoothly the devil paved the way,
Jesus would not be enticed to abandon God’s narrow, difficult
And when the devil had finished every temptation, he departed
from him until an opportune time (Matt. 4:13). Satan
retreats-but only temporarily. When he leaves - count on
another attack. Satan is never discouraged by defeat. He keeps
trying again and again.
Concerning Christ’s temptation, we observe, that directly after
he was declared to be the Son of God, and the Savior of the
world, he was tempted; great privileges, and special tokens of
divine favor, will not secure any from being tempted. But if the
Holy Spirit testifies to our being adopted as children of God,
then that will answer all the suggestions that the evil spirit
tries to communicate to us.
Commenting on this character of the devil, Martin Luther
said, “The devil takes no holiday; he never rests. If beaten,
he rises again. If he cannot enter in front, he steals in at the
rear. If he cannot enter in the rear, he breaks through the roof
or enters by tunneling under the threshold. He labors until he
is in. He uses great cunning and many a plan. When one
miscarries, he has another at hand and continues his attempts
until he wins.”
Satan’s temptations are very creative. If one doesn’t work, he
can always pull five more out of his hat.
Leander S. Keyser has suggested that temptation can come
to man along only three avenues. All other temptations are
merely variants of these three.
Appetite: The desire to enjoy things (Mt.4: 2-4; Lk.4:
2-4). In his first letter, John refers to this as “The lust
of the flesh” (1 John 2: 16). Since Jesus was hungry,
Satan made his first approach on the physical plane and in the
realm of legitimate appetite. He came in the role of a
Ambition: The desire to achieve things (Mt.4: 5-6;
Lk.4: 9-11). This John designates “The pride of life” (1
John 2: 16).
Avarice: The desire to obtain things (Mt.4: 8-11;
Lk.4: 5-7), designed by John “The lust of the eyes” (1
John 2: 16).
Mathew Henry commentary says:
“In the temptation of Christ it appears that our enemy is
subtle, spiteful, and very daring; but he can be resisted. It
is a comfort to us that Christ suffered, being tempted; for thus
it appears that our temptations, if not yielded to, are not
sins, they are afflictions only. Satan aimed in all his
temptations, to bring Christ to sin against God.”
1. He tempted him to despair of his Father’s goodness,
and to distrust his Father’s care concerning him. It is one of
the wiles of Satan to take advantage of our outward condition;
and those who are brought into straits have need to double their
2. Satan tempted Christ to presume upon his Father’s
power and protection, in a point of safety. Nor are any extremes
more dangerous than despair and presumption, especially in the
affairs of our souls. Satan has no objection to holy places as
the scene of his assaults. Let us not, in any place, be off our
watch. The holy city is the place, where he does, with the
greatest advantage, tempt men to pride and presumption. All high
places are slippery places; advancements in the world make a man
a mark for Satan to shoot his fiery darts at.
3. Satan tempted Christ to idolatry with the offer of the
kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. The glory of the
world is the most charming temptation to the unthinking and
unwary; by that men are most easily imposed upon. Christ was
tempted to worship Satan. He rejected the proposal with
abhorrence. “Get thee hence, Satan!” Some temptations are openly
wicked; and they are not merely to be opposed, but rejected at
once. It is good to be quick and firm in resisting temptation.
If we resist the devil he will flee from us.
As to Christ’s temptation, Mark notices his being in the
wilderness and that he was with the wild beasts. It was an
instance of his Father’s care of him, which encouraged Him the
more that his Father would provide for Him. Special protections
are earnests of seasonable supplies. The serpent tempted the
first Adam in the garden, the Second Adam in the wilderness;
with different success indeed; and ever since he still tempts
the children of both, in all places and conditions.
Company and conversation have their temptations; and being
alone, even in a wilderness, has its own also. No place or state
exempts, no business, not lawful laboring, eating, or drinking,
not even fasting and praying; often in these duties there are
the most assaults, but in them is the sweetest victory. The
ministration of the good angels is matter of great comfort in
reference to the malignant designs of the evil angels; but much
more does it comfort us, to have the indwelling of God the Holy
Spirit in our hearts. (Mk.1: 12,13).
Darby’s Synopsis commentary says:
“It is in the spirit of simple and humble obedience that power
lies; for where it exists, Satan can do nothing. God is there,
and accordingly the enemy is conquered. These three temptations
are addressed to the Lord in the three characters, of man, of
Messiah, and of Son of man.
He had no sinful desires like fallen man, but He was hungered.
The tempter would persuade Him to satisfy this need without God.
The promises in the Psalms belonged to Him as being made to the
And all the kingdoms of the world were His as the Son of man.
He always replies as a faithful Israelite, personally
responsible to God, making use of the Book of Deuteronomy”
The first temptation was on the physical plane, the second on
the mental. In the third, Satan invades the realm of the
spiritual—trying to give him a place that belongs to God alone.
The first was the temptation to satisfy a legitimate appetite by
illegitimate means. The second was the temptation to bring about
a spiritual glory by worldly means. The third was the temptation
to obtain a lawful heritage by unlawful methods.
The record implies that in each case Jesus heard the temptation
from within, but did not open the door to the tempter. In this
way He gained a stunning victory over His enemy, the benefits of
which can be shared today by every tempted soul. Because the
Christ to whom we are united by faith was victorious over every
class of temptation, we may share in His triumph as we
appropriate it by faith.