Read: Luke 4:1-13
By: CJ Phillips
“Don’t just run from temptation, look it in the eye and defeat it!” –Baylor Barbee
If only… If they would… If I just…
It is a dilemma that we face each and every day. When temptation begins to consume our lives, we can become quick to place blame on someone or something.
If you are anything like me, it is easy to become tempted to place the blame elsewhere and often not even realize that we are being tempted.
To think that Jesus, was tempted can be shocking to us! It can be difficult to think that the Son of God would be tempted. However, there is much that can be learned from this interaction between Christ and Satan. If Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God, then why would he even try to tempt Him?
As Scripture says, while Jesus was in the wilderness he was approached by the devil and asked, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3) What does Satan mean by, “If you are the Son of God”? Is Satan denying that Jesus is the Son of God? In our English translation it might sound like it: “If you were the Son of God–which you aren’t–then…”
Now there is a way to say that in the original Greek, but this is not it. No, the devil is not that tactless. He’s more conniving than that.
His “if” does not deny that Jesus is God’s Son. Instead, it is just the opposite.
Satan is granting the fact that Jesus is God’s Son. The “if” is almost like our “since” “If you are the Son of God,” meaning, “Since you are the Son of God, then…”
The devil is not denying that Jesus is God’s Son. He’s just using that as his set-up for what follows.
So, here’s what I wonder. What if Jesus had said, “Ok. Yes, I’ll do it?” What if He had turned just one small stone into a small loaf of bread? He’s hungry, famished. Why not fill the emptiness? Maybe not a feast or even a big loaf. No butter. Just a little something to get him by.
What if He had accepted the glory and authority of all the kingdoms of the world? They are rightfully His anyway. Why not free fall into the arms of the angels? After all, He is the Beloved Son. What if Jesus had not looked Satan in the eye and said “No”? What if He did not know what the Scripture said? What if He had just run away from Satan? What if He allowed the temptation, the hunger, the exhaustion to consume him?
What if we faced our dilemma differently? Instead of looking for somewhere to place the blame, what if we stared temptation right in the eye and defeated it!?