This is such a familiar story, it can be easy to think that Jesus, being God, was not really all that tempted to disobey God and follow Satan. But I think Jesus was tempted beyond anything most of us have ever experienced. Think about it – Jesus hadn’t eaten for 40 days when he realized (or was prompted) that he could turn stone into bread. I imagine the debate going on in his mind was excruciating! It probably went something like this…
“I am literally starving! What good could I do if I die of starvation? Just a small morsel would go a long way. No one will know because no one is watching. But – I’ll know. God will know. This hunger will not last forever. One way or another, I will either starve to death or my time of trial will end, and I will eat. And when I do, I will never again be a slave to the human need for food, for I know I can survive starvation. I can focus my attention on the things of God, not on the things of human need.”
Whatever was going on in Jesus’ head, I am quite certain the whole experience was physically painful and emotionally draining. But Jesus got through it. And Satan never did win.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time.