Read the truly amazing life story about how the forces of good and evil battle over a man and the vision that God gives him. Joseph W. Gordon’s Possess the Vision (Xulon Press, $12.95, 140 pages, ISBN 1-59781-205-6)
Jesus Enters Spiritual Warfare
In our previous posting we looked at the sequence of events precededing the ministry of Jesus. We started by presenting His baptism in the Jordan River.
As He was baptized He was empowerment by the Holy Spirit and God’s voice proclaimed Jesus to be His Son.
Immediately after the baptism the Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness where He is abstains from food and water for 40 days and nights. We commented on how this fasting weakened His flesh but on the other hand brought Him closer to God in the spiritual realm. We concluded that perhaps we all could rely less upon our physical abilities and focus more on the spiritual side to enable communication with God.
The point of all of this is that the devil is attempting to deceive Jesus into denying His identity and purpose and we can expect that he will do the same to us. So let’s pick up where we left off to see how the devil attempted to trick Jesus in this way:
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. Luke 4:3
The devil’s statement is both an insult and a direct challenge to Jesus’ identity as the Son of God (as recently declared by God at His baptism). The devil’s strategy here is to place Jesus into a no win situation. The statement above sets a trap for Jesus because of the following facts.
- Man lost his dominion in the Garden of Eden as he was tricked by the devil into disobeying God’s only commandment.
- For man to regain what was lost he would have to defeat the devil himself.
- This defeat would require that a man live a sinless life. A man would have to live in a world filled with evil and yet not fall to the temptations of the devil. This is something that man was unable to do.
- Therefore, Jesus had to come to the earth as a man, (not God) to defeat the devil and regain dominion for man.
These conditions set the trap. If Jesus doesn’t turn the stone into bread as the devil suggests (doing what the devil suggests is always a bad idea) then how can Jesus be the Son of God as He claims? On the other hand, if He does then He has come to the earth as God and is disqualify Him from His mission. Seemingly in a trap, Jesus replies with a spiritual answer in defeating this temptation:
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:4)
The key word in Jesus’ response is “man.” Effectively Jesus is stateing that He is man. In quoting scripture He is a man empowered by the Holy Spirit and is victorious in this spiritual battle by deploying the Word of God as His weapon.
The stakes for Jesus in this battle were high. In the balance were His identity (as the Son of God) and His mission (to free us all from the bondage of the devil). Jesus was able to resist this temptation because He knew the Father proclaimed Him to be His son and that the Holy Spirit had led Him into the wilderness for testing. This testing that was necessary to determine if He was ready to move forward in His ministry.
This story gives us much to ponder. If the devil will temp Jesus in this way then he will do the same to us also. Therefore, it is critical that we know who we are in the Lord and what our mission is. It is critical to know scripture and what the enemies’ strategy is as well. This information can be found by moving into the Truth, the passageway into the Holy Place of God. It is a place of prayer where God enlightens us with this information and prepares us for spiritual warfare.
It requires a deeper relationship with God to develop than most ever achieve. If you care to learn more please follow the link provide here and and browse through the subcomponents found there: Passing-from-the-way-and-into-the-Truth