Today's devotion from Luke 4. Jesus' temptation is a fascinating subject for me. It follows some of the most spiritually rich times of Jesus' life in His baptism and His time fasting in the wilderness. Yet, Scripture explicitly states that the Spirit had led Jesus to this place at this time for the purpose of being tempted by Satan. And the Enemy, being very good, demonstrates how crafty and calculating he is.
First, Jesus is tempted in the immediacy of need. Having no food during His time of fasting, Satan tempts Him to tell a stone to become bread. That seems pretty simple. What would be the harm in feeding Himself in this supernatural way? The answer is debated, but it comes down to two realities. First, Jesus has been brought here to battle Satan. His primary purpose is to withstand this time so He might victoriously launch His ministry. Second, it is the nature of what Satan is tempting Him to do.
It is no coincidence that two of these temptations begin with the words, "If you are the Son of God." He had just been recognized as the Son of God by the Father Himself as the Spirit descended upon the baptized Christ and the voice of God pronounced His deep pleasure in the obedience of this, His Son. As such, there is a tinge of self-justification in the question followed by a healthy dose of selfish motivation to use His divine nature for Himself.
Jesus knew that He must not give in to Satan's trap lest He find Himself guilty of failing to do that which He would teach His disciples to do when they were to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." How could Jesus withstand the next temptation concerning His ultimate victory through the agony of the cross if He couldn't withstand the current temptation of physical hunger?
As I thought about this, it occurred to me that we are often experiencing something this moment that may prepare us for moments to come. I don't know the nature of that hardship or what it might entail, but I do know that cutting corners in small things will not lead to success in those that are larger. No matter where you are or what you're going through today, trust God and follow His way faithfully.