July 02, 2012
Only for a Season
“And when he had ended all the temptations,
the devil departed from Him for a season.”
The wilderness temptation scene ended with a new experience for Satan: he walked away defeated. Here was a Man against Whom he threw his entire arsenal but He did not succumb. Here was a Man against Whom every stratagem and subtlety of temptation was employed and yet was futile. He had never walked away totally and utterly defeated before. He had met formidable opponents before. He had bent Job almost to the point of breaking. He had been successful with even a man such as David. He had successfully used the murmuring of the children of Israel to rile even the likes of a Moses.
But this Man? He was totally different. Satan departed a defeated foe. Luke, however, is careful to add, “he departed for a season.” As he left, you can almost imagine him reviewing his attacks and plotting fresh strategy. You can almost envision him thinking of how he would attack in the future and what means he would use.
And attack he did. Listen to the family of the Lord Jesus this time: “Shew Thyself to the world” (John 7:4). The temptation came from those who were close to Him, not from Satan directly. Yet how similar to the final temptation which Luke tells us of (Luke 4:9-12). What about the offer of the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-8)? Watch as crowds follow Him to make Him king (John 6:15). How appealing when it was His own nation and not Satan!
But the subtlety of Satan is seen at its most malicious level when it is Peter, one of the three in the inner circle, who said to the Lord, “Pity Thyself Lord” (Matt 16:22). Satan’s attacks were relentless. With increasing ferocity and malice, with ever increasing intensity and subtlety, he hounded the steps of the Lord Jesus Christ seeking to find some point of weakness, some vulnerability in this Man.
His final attack was at Calvary. Yet he was, and is, a defeated foe.
1. Look at the insults hurled at the Lord Jesus when upon Calvary and notice how similar in principle they are to the three wilderness temptations.
2. Satan knew Who his opponent was. Why do you think he actually thought he could cause the Lord Jesus to fall? What does it say about the deceitfulness of sin?
3. When God became incarnate, when Christ took humanity into union with His deity, this was the first opportunity Satan had to actually “attack” on his own ground and controlling the conditions and terms of the attack.