In Matthew 4:1-11 it is recorded that following Jesus’ baptism He is led to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Last Sunday night I preached on this text from the vantage of Jesus overcoming that temptation as well as Him fulfilling what was failed by the Israelites in their wilderness journey. We made reference to the importance of Jesus being able to overcome temptation and be our sinless sacrifice for atonement. However without disrespect to the overall theme of this text, there are some things on the peripheral which are interesting in their own right. For example, if you look at this text just focusing on the use of Scripture, a great deal can be learned.
JESUS KNEW SCRIPTURE
This goes almost without saying, but Jesus was reared as a Jew and therefore was very well educated in the law of God. In Luke 2:41-50 it is recorded that Jesus as a 12 year old boy was very much interested in being about His Father’s business. For our purposes, notice Luke 2:46-47: “Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” Jesus even as a child was above his peers and even the teachers of the Law of God. He was someone who was interested in the Old Testament writings and even was able to commit them to memory. This no doubt proved useful in combating the temptation in the wilderness 18 or so years later.
SATAN KNEW SCRIPTURE
In Matthew 4:6 we find Satan quoting Psalm 91:11-12. This should not be that surprising to us because obviously Satan will use the word of God to try and deceive. All the way back in Genesis 3 Satan uses the words of God to deceive Eve. “And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:2-5). Satan directly contradicted God’s word to Eve and this ploy deceived her to go into sin. It is no surprise to us then that Satan tried to use the Bible to deceive Jesus. Jesus did not fall for this trick. No doubt Jesus understood that any passage which contradicted the Law of God was not applied properly. Sure Psalm 91:11-12 was speaking prophetically of the Christ, but that did not make Deuteronomy 6:16 void.
How are we to apply this teaching then? We must not only know the word of God but also be aware that Satan tries to deceive us with the word. 2 Peter 3:14-18, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”