21 Days of Prayer and Fasting
Daily Devotional – Day 8
Read: Matthew 4:1-11
Before He began His ministry, Jesus fasted forty days and nights. Who wouldn’t be starving and physically weak after a forty day fast? After all, Jesus was fully human while He was fully God (John 1:14; Colossians 2:9). Why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil? For Jesus to have the ability to die for our sins, He had to be sinless. He couldn’t have any sin and be our substitute for sin. Scripture tells us He was sinless. 1 Peter 2:22 says, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 John 3:5 says, “And in him is no sin.” “God made Him who knew no sin to became sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21). But being sinless is easy when you aren’t tempted. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to prove His sinless nature. And prove it He did. I’m glad Jesus overcame because if He hadn’t then He couldn’t have been our Savior.
This wasn’t the only time or the only ways Jesus was tempted. Hebrews 4:15 say, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin.” Jesus was tempted to steal, cheat, lie, be selfish, disobey and in every sin under the sun. Satan tempted Jesus to sin in three ways. First, Satan tried to get Jesus to question His deity and what God had said about Him just a few days earlier (Matthew 3:17). “If you are the Son of God…” (Matthew 4:3). Satan always wants to tempt you to disbelieve what God has said and God’s calling on your life. Satan desires you to trust in your flesh. Jesus flesh was weak after a forty day fast but Jesus didn’t just not eat – He sought God and prayed. That’s the difference between not eating and fasting. He was strong spiritually and one with His Father God. He quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” He reminded Satan of God’s calling on His life and used Scripture to do it.
Secondly, as His divinity and calling were questioned again, Satan tempted Jesus to prove His divinity by throwing Himself off the highest point of the temple to see if God would raise Him up. Satan even attempted to quote Scripture by saying, ““‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone’” (Matthew 4:6). But Jesus knew the rest of the Old Testament as well and again quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16, “Do not put your Lord your God to the test.” Jesus knew it was wrong to do something crazy and out of God’s will and then expect God’s protection.
Thirdly, Jesus was tempted with the offer of “second-in-command” under Satan if He would bow down and worship him. Satan is called the god of this evil world (2 Corinthians 4:4) but Jesus knew Satan’s final end would be banishment in eternal hell forever (Revelation 20:1-3; 10). Basically Satan offered something he really didn’t possess. Jesus again quoted Deuteronomy 6:13, “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” At that point, angels came to minister to Jesus and the devil left Jesus (because Jesus told him to get away in Matthew 4:10). Jesus showed us the importance of knowing, trusting, and saying Scripture. We must obey Scripture when we are tempted.
- What have you been tempted to sin in lately? Did you overcome it? If not, did you use Scripture to combat the temptations?
- What could you do differently to overcome the temptations you usually give in to?
- Satan cannot be everywhere at all times (he roams and walks the earth – Job 1:6-7, Matthew 4:3, 1 Peter 5:8). Maybe it isn’t Satan himself tempting you but one of his demons. But I think we give the devil too much credit in our sin instead of taking personal responsibility. James 1:14 says temptation comes from our evil desires within us. We can be tempted without “the devil making us do it.” What changes our evil desires within us?
- What is the biggest recurring temptation you have? What scripture do you know to combat it? (i.e. if it is stealing, what scriptures do you know on stealing. If it is lying, what scriptures do you know about lying?)
Jesus, help me to know your Word, trust your Word, and obey your Word. You are the Word made flesh and I desire to know you more. Help me overcome temptation by trusting in you and believing what you say about me. I want you more than I want sin. You are more appealing and inviting than anything sin has to offer. Help me see past the bait of Satan and savor your sweet Scriptures. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Church Prayer Request:
What temptations does the church have? How tempting is it for the church to not be the church and do what church is biblically mandated to be and do? Pray for our church to fulfill Scripture and be a church that honors the Lord as we glorify Him, win souls with the Gospel of Christ, and make disciples of Him.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.