Devil Is Hell-bent to Destroy Our Saving Connectin With Jesus & He is Allowed to Make His Attempt On This
"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil." (Matthew 4:1)
Following on from Father’s and Holy Spirit’s expressed pleasure in the Son who has united Himself with sinners through powerful symbolic reality of baptism which represented His future saving act of salvation, Jesus came in direct conflict with devil in desert. Here, we observe an interesting phenomenon detected in the account of the gospels, which is that whenever salvation of humanity is announced or ushered, there is a fierce attack of devil on Jesus. Here are the examples:
a) When angel Gabriel announced that His name will be Jesus which means that He will save people from their sins very soon after Herod went on a killing spree of all baby boys from Bethlehem.
b) When through baptism, Jesus powerfully declared the upcoming salvation through which He would unite with sinners by taking their sins on Himself, He almost immediately had a showdown with Satan in a desert.
c) On another occasion Peter supernaturally stated that the identity of Jesus is one of the Son of God (Messiah) after which Jesus immediately spoke of His suffering and ensuing salvation. Peter, however, tried hard to prevent him from it. Jesus, on the other hand, told the devil who used Peter to get away from Him.
The simple matter of fact is that devil hates God. In the examples given we find that his rage and scheming is specifically directed at Jesus the Saviour who is fully determined to deliver salvation as the only means by which the breaking of devil’s spell on human souls and unity of sinners with God will be possible. By the same token his rage is also directed at those who have gotten hold of God’s salvation through Jesus. Devil is in full frontal attack against Jesus and all those who have accepted His salvation.
Satan rages against God’s legal way of breaking his hold or spell on human soul. Jesus’s salvation both separates humans from Satan and unites us to God. Satan is hell-bent on preventing the salvation of sinners. Nothing has changed on this front. This battle continues. The most important thing is that we must be aware of this. What is it we need to be aware of specifically?
a) Our greatest need for Jesus as our Saviour
b) Our understanding and conviction of being sinner who are hopeless and helpless without Jesus
c) Our regular experience of repentance which produces the softening of our hearts towards our Saviour and our unity with Him.
Devil’s attack on Jesus in wilderness is therefore primarily the attack on Him as a Saviour. It is not so much an attack on Him as God, or as a healer, or as a preacher or as a teacher but the attack on Him as a Saviour. Satan wants to protect his kingdom and humanity is his kingdom. God on the other hand, came to rightfully claim what is His by creation but can now only be rightfully His through redemption. As Jesus left the waters of baptism He went with the blessing of the Father and Holy Spirit and was determined to save people. Immediately, Satan steps in to try and prevent Him. Desert was a place of full on preparation for this mission.
What Do We Learn About the Salvation Here?
1. Salvation is a combined effort of Heavenly Trio.
There was nothing more important but the united front and the effort of God to save humanity. Jesus took on human flesh. He would carry out the mission of salvation. However, the effort of salvation, while being executed by Jesus is still a combined effort of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2. As Jesus is resolutely moving towards the goal of Salvation He is sorely tested and God Father and Spirit allows this.
God does not shy away from a conflict with the devil. He is now on devil’s ground and through the prophets of old and through incarnation He fully announced His plan not only to humans but also to devil. While salvation of God was heralded by shepherds and wisemen to all of humanity, now it was being officially announced to the powers of darkness. After the Fall, God announced the gospel originally to Adam and Eve but informed the devil too. So, God entered the conflict with Satan in the Garden of Eden. However, while the Spirit of God would contend with devil through the resistance of the Holy Spirit in the mind and hearts of people throughout long agest of history, the real showdown would take place when God in Jesus, the incarnate God, would come to face the devil. The very first promise of the 'descendant' who would come to 'crush serpent's head' (Gen. 3:15) was about to be fulfilled.
While no human being ever managed to resist the enticing of devil, ‘for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’, now Someone who was fully divine and fully human came to face Satan. He fully announced the intent to save us and now He was to face and engage with the one to whom humanity lawfully belongs. This was going to be the conflict of ages. The climax of this conflict would produce something we call Salvation. While this conflict was between the old archenemies, even more importantly this conflict has been over 'the treasure' which devil held in his hands and God was determined to get back to Himself. This treasure is humanity. It is you and me. God was going to do everything possible to take you, His treasure from the hands of devil who would do everything not to give you up.
3. As we are drawn to the Saviour and even saved by Jesus we will be sorely tested – God allows this