God created the world. His voice broke through the silence and His Spirit hovered over the water. Then God placed His pinnacle of creation into a beautiful garden. This glorious moment marked the beginning of abundant life on the earth. And so it was in the lush beauty, abundance and plenty of the Garden of Eden, that the first temptation came.
Satan showed up.
God had already told Adam that he could eat from any of the trees in the garden except for one. It wasn’t as if Adam and Eve were hungry. It wasn’t as if they were in need, and yet the temptation to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil came because…the fruit looked good!
Satan’s offer also included a short-cut, the wide path, an easy road. By eating this fruit, they would know good and evil and…they would become like God!
And even though God had already warned that eating the fruit from this tree would mean death, satan promised…they would not surely die.
And so amidst the lavish beauty and richness and abundance and complete satisfaction of the garden, Adam and Eve took the fruit and ate.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall 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; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 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 is said: “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 4:1-13
Jesus had just come from the Jordan. The baptism was a glorious moment when the sky opened, the voice of God broke through the silence, and God’s Spirit hovered over the water like a dove. This miraculous day would mark the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, the call back to abundant life. But Jesus didn’t immediately begin His ministry by going to the countryside to preach. The Spirit of God led Him into the wilderness for the next forty days.
Forty days of no food.
Forty days of desert.
Forty days of hunger, thirst, denial of the basic necessities of life, near starvation, and it was in this stark, empty, barrenness that the temptation for Jesus came.
Satan showed up. He told Jesus to prove He was God by turning stone into bread.
After forty days without food, Jesus’ body was screaming for nourishment. Turn stones into bread? Certainly, the thought of bread would have looked good.
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live on bread alone.”’
Then, a second temptation, a shortcut to the Kingdom. Satan promised he would hand over the kingdoms of the world to Jesus. No betrayal, no beating, no whipping, no torture, no nailing to a cross, no death, the wide path, the easy road, if Jesus would simply bow to satan and worship him.
Jesus spoke again, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
The devil took Jesus to the highest point of the Temple with the challenge to throw Himself down from there. Of course, God’s own Son would not surely die, because God would send His angels for protection.
Jesus spoke a third time, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
The devil left Him.