October 5 (Daily reading: Matthew 4; Luke 4-5) Jesus’s baptism showed He was ready to follow His Father’s plan for saving the world, “even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). After His baptism, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (Mt. 4:1). Even Satan’s ruses can be used by God. Jesus was tested to affirm His decision. Satan’s temptations were specifically designed to give Jesus a way out. Surely there was an easier way to be Savior than dying on a cross! Satan’s first two ideas would require Jesus to use His power selfishly. He was hungry, so He could turn stones into bread. Or He could be protected by angels when He leaped from the pinnacle of the temple, so everyone would see the power of the Messiah (as prophesied in Ps. 91:11-12). Satan even offered to share his dominion over the world if Jesus would just worship him! Dying on a cross was not reasonable! Isn’t that how Satan tempts us—almost anything would be more reasonable than dying to self! But Jesus said to follow Him, the disciple must “take up his cross” (Mk. 8:34). Remember that for every temptation, Jesus replied to Satan from scripture.
Perhaps Satan hoped a greater obstacle to frustrate the plans of Jesus would be by turning the people of His hometown of Nazareth against Him. Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath and read from Isaiah 61. He then revealed that the Messiah’s mission, as predicted by the prophet, was His mission! Luke records their reaction: they “were filled with rage” and forced Him outside the city to throw Him off a cliff. But he walked away from them. (Lk. 4:16-30). Satan tries continuously to frustrate God’s plans for His children. Satan always has an alternative to God’s way! “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (Ja. 4:7).
– Al Gary