“The devil, playing on His hunger, gave the first test: ‘Since you are God’s Son, command this stone to turn into a loaf of bread’. Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: ‘It takes more than bread to really live.'” Luke 4:3-4.

What sort of test was this?

There are layers upon layers of significance in these devilish suggestions and the devil was smart. He started with the physical. Jesus’ most pressing need was for food. And there was nothing resembling food anywhere nearby, except a few rocks that looked like loaves of bread. The more He stared at them the more He could almost smell the delicious aroma of flatbread cooking on a heated rock. What harm would He do by using His divine power to do a little magic? No one would know…except the Father!

But underneath that there is another layer. Before He left the Father’s side, He had renounced His right to act as God during His time on earth as a human being – for the whole time – not only when it was convenient or when He was in the public eye. Would He go back on that?

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7 (NIV).

But underneath that was another layer. If He made stones into bread, He would be acting on his own initiative and not on God’s instruction. That would be a denial of what a true son is. The nature of a son is submission and obedience – not doing His own thing like Adam did. If He was to have His needs met, the Father would meet them so that the Father would get the glory.

But underneath that was another layer. Satan was not stupid. He knew that it was his ultimate job to destroy the oneness between Father and Son. That was the secret power that got things done on earth. Right back at the beginning of history God knew that people could do anything if they were united.

“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, ‘If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.'” Genesis 11:5-6 (NIV).

Why was this? Because unity is the expression of God’s essential nature. It was the confession of the Israelites from the beginning of their nationhood. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Deuteronomy 6:4 (NIV). Jesus would never accomplish anything outside of perfect oneness with the Father because what the Father decreed in heaven, the Son confirmed on earth.

And underneath was yet another layer. If Jesus had listened to the devil, He would have changed allegiance, just as Adam did. He would have acknowledged that “Satan is Lord” which is exactly what the old serpent wanted!

O yes, Satan was smart! But Jesus was even smarter! With one pithy quote from the Scriptures He knew so well, He cut down the opposition and demolished every subtle insinuation embedded in those words, “Since you are God’s Son…” Satan was saying, ‘Prove it!’ Jesus shot back, ‘I don’t have to. I know it!’ How did He know it? Daddy said it: ‘You are my Son.’ And that was enough.

“…Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV).

Translation: ‘Daddy didn’t tell me to do that!’

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Luella Campbell

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