Matthew 3:16, 17; 4:1-11: “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’ Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
When Jesus was baptized, God’s Holy Spirit enlightened him, opening his mind to all the Old Testament prophecies, the Law with its types and symbols, etc. Jesus knew the scriptures thoroughly (reading them from his youth), and his perfect mind was able to memorize the whole Bible from Genesis to Malachi. Now, after the scriptures were “opened” or revealed to him, he needed time to fully comprehend them. He needed to learn how to proceed with his life to fulfill the prophecies and the types.
Jesus was so engrossed in study and in communion with the Heavenly Father, that he fasted. Afterwards, he felt hungry. (Matthew 4:2) At that moment, when he was weak from fasting, Satan preyed upon him with three temptations. The first was to turn stone into bread, the second to throw himself from the top of the temple and to have a miraculous demonstration of being saved, and the third to worship Satan and be part of his kingdom. Jesus faithfully endured these three temptations, and loyally stood against Satan by proving:
- The power given him was not to be used to gratify the flesh and its interests. He was to use the power of the holy Spirit to serve God and others, and to courageously sacrifice his life to redeem mankind. Thus, if he faithfully fulfilled his consecration to death, he would receive a crown of life, more precious than anything earthly.
- Jesus was not to use his power to miraculously demonstrate his position as the Messiah. He was to grow faith within himself and within others by quiet constancy, abundant love and care, and faith in God’s “exceeding great and precious promises.” (Hebrews 11:1; 2 Peter 1:4)
- Jesus proved his loyalty to his Father by resisting the temptation to serve two masters. He recognized only one authority, one supreme being, the great Jehovah, Lord of heaven and earth.
Matthew 4:11 tells us that Satan left him. The devil found Jesus to be thoroughly loyal to his Heavenly Father and His plans. Then the angels came and ministered to him. They supplied food, refreshment, and comfort for his faithfulness. What a lesson for all of us!