Right after Jesus is baptized by John, God’s spirit leads Jesus into the Judean wilderness. He has a lot to think about. At Jesus’ baptism, “the heavens were opened up.” (Matthew 3:16) He thus can recall things he learned and did in heaven. Indeed, there is much for him to meditate on!
Jesus spends 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness. During that time, he eats nothing. Then, when Jesus is very hungry, Satan the Devil approaches to tempt him, saying: “If you are a son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” (Matthew 4:3) Knowing that it is wrong to use his miraculous powers to satisfy his personal desires, Jesus rejects that temptation.
The Devil does not stop there. He tries another approach. He challenges Jesus to throw himself off the temple battlement. But Jesus is not tempted to make such a spectacular display. Quoting from the Scriptures, Jesus shows that it is wrong to put God to the test in such a way.
Then, in a third temptation, the Devil in some way shows Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory” and says: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” Again Jesus flatly refuses, saying: “Go away, Satan!” (Matthew 4:8-10) He does not yield to temptation to do wrong, knowing that sacred service must be rendered only to Jehovah. Yes, he chooses to remain faithful to God.
We can learn from these temptations and from Jesus’ response to them. The temptations were real, which shows that the Devil is not a mere quality of evil as some people claim. He is a real, invisible person. This account also shows that the world’s governments actually are the Devil’s property; he controls them. How else could his offering them to Christ have been a real temptation?
Furthermore, the Devil said that he was willing to reward Jesus for one act of worship, to the extent of giving Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. The Devil may well try to tempt us in a similar way, perhaps placing before us tantalizing opportunities to obtain worldly wealth, power, or position. How wise we prove to be when we follow Jesus’ example by remaining faithful to God whatever the temptation is! But recall that the Devil left Jesus only “until another convenient time.” (Luke 4:13) It may be similar with us, so we must not let our guard down.