Out in the wilderness for 40 days - and the devil never stood a chance. He tried to tempt Jesus. He tried to trick Jesus. But the devil never stood a chance, not against the almighty Son of God.
Watching Jesus manhandle the devil here is like watching a professional wrestler pin someone to the ground—he makes it look so easy! Jesus just quotes a little Scripture and the temptation is over. It’s not so easy for us. The devil comes at us with all sorts of tricks and lies to get us to sin. We think it’ll be fun, it’s not going to hurt anyone else, I’m not breaking the law, I deserve this, or the most damaging temptation of them all, I can always say I’m sorry later. The devil throws it all at us. And we might put up a fight for a while, we might valiantly resist, but he just keeps coming.
And the temptations that are the worst are the ones directed at our particular weaknesses. The problem we have is that there is this part of us that wants to sin, there is an inborn sinful nature that has its own selfish triggers and the devil knows what that trigger is, and he knows just how to get us to pull it. These are those pet sins we repeat over and over again, the ones that go away for awhile and come back. These are the sins we don’t tell other people, the ones we hardly admit to God, because we’re ashamed that we keep doing it, all the time. And sin is deadly, because left unchecked it will choke out faith. When we let the devil win, faith can’t survive.
Does it make you feel like you’ve been defeated? You stand toe-to-toe with the devil and he knocks you down every time. You perhaps feel isolated, ashamed and scared. You don’t know what to do and it seems like you’re wandering around in the desert desperately searching for help and there’s no one around. Well look again. There is someone else in this desert—this wilderness—who struggles with you. He’s been here for forty long days and he has one word for the devil and his temptations: begone!
After two unsuccessful attempts the devil struck with one more. The devil takes Jesus to a high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world. He tells Jesus he will get all of these if he only bows down and worships him. Maybe the devil forgot something here, but this is the son of God, this is the King of kings, the Lord of lords. He may not look like it here on earth, but this man already rules the world. But the devil had another thing in mind; he was giving Jesus the easy way out. Jesus knew what was in store for him and it wasn’t a pleasant thought. And the devil was giving him another option: he could gain the whole world simply by worshipping the devil, that’s a lot easier than dying on a cross and being forsaken by God. But it couldn’t be that way. It was a lie, because when the devil speaks he speaks lies. And Jesus had had enough, this was the last straw, he would show the devil how wrong he was, “Away from me Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only!” And he was right, because even the devil has to obey the word of God and when Jesus gave him a command he had to obey it. And just like that, the devil was gone.
One word. The phrase Jesus used is one word. We don’t use it very much anymore, but it’s been around in English since about the 1300s, “begone.” When Martin Luther penned his famous hymn A Mighty Fortress, he wrote in stanza three, “Though devils all the world should fill, All eager to devour us, We tremble not, we fear no ill; They shall not overpow’r us. This world’s prince may still Scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none. He’s judged; the deed is done! One little word can fell him.”
One little word, one simple phrase knocks the devil down. It is the Word of God, it is the power of Christ, it is Christ. When Christ spoke that one word, he blew the devil away. It was the knockout blow, showing the devil that he had lost, there would be no victory party for Satan because Christ won the victory.
And that one little word is yours - use it!
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