Immediately following the Lord’s baptism, the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan (Mark 1:12-13). Though one may like to know more about those forty days Christ spent in the wilderness, we can reverently and profitably study the information that is available.
One significant observation is that Christ entered the conflict under the constraint and leading of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1). Thus, Satan was not challenging Deity; rather, Deity was challenging Satan. God was dragging the devil out into the open in order to expose and defeat him (Matthew 12:12). One reason for Christ’s manifestation in the flesh was that He “might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). His triumphant march began with this conflict.
Further, the time of the Lord’s temptation is significant. Notice that it came immediately after His baptism, an act that publicly manifested His commitment to do the Father’s will. Have you ever noticed that oftentimes our fiercest temptations follow our mountaintop experiences? Perhaps this is the reason for Paul’s warning to those who think they are spiritually secure to take heed lest they fall (1 Corinthians 10:21).
Pay particular attention to the three lines of attack that the enemy chose. The first temptation was an appeal to the lust of the flesh; the second was an appeal to the lust of the eye; the third to the pride of life (Luke 4:2-11). In each case, the temptation was to distrust God. The amazing thing is that these three lines of attack have never changed through the centuries (1 John 2:16). Satan used these tactics in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-7) and is still using them today. It is a shame that through these centuries most people have never learned to properly defend themselves against this foe even though his strategy has never changed.
How did Christ meet this powerful and deceptive enemy? He met him on the field of confrontation with the most powerful weapon available to any person who is engaged in spiritual battle – “It is written…” (Luke 4:4, 8, 12). Christ’s use of Scripture showed His familiarity with them and also that He fully accepted their authority. Do you know the secret of victory over man’s adversity today? It remains the same – knowledge of God’s word and proper application of it to one’s life (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Because Christ conquered Satan, we may be “more than conquerors” also (Romans 8:37). Since Christ experienced temptation He is able to assist and empathize with weak humanity in his time of need (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16). “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).