After being baptized by His cousin John, Jesus started walking into the wilderness, bringing nothing with Him but the clothes He wore. He followed the whisperings of the Spirit until He reached the designated place, far from any city or village. He looked out over the desert-scape, knowing what the next forty days would bring. Forty days of purification. Fasting, solitude, and temptation. This purification, if He succeeded, would allow Him to begin His ministry. Once He finished these forty days, He would be prepared to teach and to heal. He began His time of solitude. Forty days later, Jesus was weak with hunger. Suddenly, He felt He wasn’t alone. He turned, and there was Satan.
“You look hungry,” Satan said, smiling cruelly.
Jesus said nothing. “If you really are the chosen Son of God, turn these stones to bread,” Satan continued, no longer smiling. “It is written in the holy scriptures that man will not only be fed by bread but by the word of God,” Jesus answered. It was not time for Him to break the fast yet, and He would not allow Satan to taunt Him. He would also not use His limitless power on His own behalf, against the will of the Father.
The Spirit brought Jesus to the top of the temple. Satan appeared a moment later, following Him. As
they looked down from their high position at the crowded streets, the tempter tried again.
“If you’re really the Son of God, jump,” he said, casually leaning forward over the edge to look closer at the ground below.
“Angels are watching over you; they will catch you.”
“You will not tempt the Lord your God,” Jesus answered firmly, dizzy from the lack of food.
Again, the Spirit took Him away, this time to the top of a mountain. Again, Satan was not far behind. Tired of Jesus ignoring Him, he showed Christ images of the great kingdoms of the world, whole civilizations flashing in view, their wealth and power overwhelming.
“I am the master of all this,” Satan declared triumphantly. “And I will give it all to you.”
He began to walk around Jesus, the images still flashing. “I will give it all to you,” he said again, “If that is, you will bow down and worship me.” Weary from lack of food and the tireless temptations, Jesus steeled himself and looked Satan in the eyes.
“Leave now, Satan,” He said, the power of His command palpable. “It is written ‘Worship the Lord God only, and serve Him only.’ You have no power over me.” Powerless against Jesus’ command, Satan disappeared. It was over. Jesus had passed. Angels came from heaven and served Him food and gave Him comfort.