1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.I stopped and thought about this interaction between our Lord and our greatest enemy. When you read books, can't you just picture the "movie" in your head? I do almost every time I read.
2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.
3 And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'"
5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,
6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU';
'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'"
7 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'"
8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;
9 and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."
10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'"
11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
So, here I am "reading the movie" in my head and I'm thinking to myself, "Jesus isn't oblivious to what Satan is tempting Him with... I do not see Him just standing there with a glazed look on His face, staring into space." I do not see our Lord saying, "Did you hear something?" and looking around after Satan says something. No, not at all.
My point is: the reason these things were temptations is because Jesus was fully aware and conscious of what was happening before Him. Now, these thoughts were planted in His mind by Satan, they did not come from within Him, but they were in His head nonetheless. These temptations were planted and then processed. Where Christ differs from every other man, is that there was no delay in His rejection of those sinful thoughts.
He didn't mull it over and play out all the scenario's looking for some kind of "loop-hole" or compromise that would allow Him to act on the temptation and yet still follow God's law. There is no compromising or "middle ground" with God's law.
The last thing I noticed was that His immediate reaction is to rebut with a relevant and poignant quote from God's word. How much more are we to rebut temptation in this same manner? Just as Christ wielded the sword of the word in His time of temptation, we too are to wage battle with the sword.
I think it is important to point out that the "bad thoughts" that we have do not have to be planted by Satan. One product of our fallen flesh is lust, and when that lust conceives, it gives birth to sin. I've placed the emphasis in the following passage:
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Sin, including every sinful thought we have, comes from our own hearts, direct temptation by Satan is not requisite. See Jesus' own words:
Mark 7:20-23In times of war, men are not drafted up and dropped on the battlefield with no training. There must be time to prepare the soldier, allow him time to become acquainted with his weapon, put on his body armor, and understand the "theater" he is to be deployed in. The same should be done regarding the Christian life. Everyday is a battle, we are going to encounter evil, and we need to be ready. Study of His word, putting on the armor of God, everything you read in Ephesians 6:10ff. Be prepared, do what is necessary to make ready. Facing the enemy without your sword is just as deadly in war as it is in everyday life.
20 And He was saying, "That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man.
21 "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries,
22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.
23 "All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man."