Jesus is tempted by Satan, and there is so much we can learn from this incredible encounter. Satan tempts Jesus with three basic human desires – food, power/wealth, and wonders. These three are also three different ways Jesus could choose to do His ministry – by giving people all of those desires. Jesus resists Satan in the wilderness, and resists the temptation to give the people of His day (and ours) exactly what they want – instead He gives what we all need.
Jesus quotes Scripture, which shows how important it is for us to know Scripture, memorize parts of it, and let it guide how we make decisions. We can learn that temptation comes when we are weak and vulnerable, but that does not give us an excuse. Jesus was tempted just as we are, but He did not sin. He lives in us, and we can overcome sin, too.
Most of all, Satan goes after the identity of Jesus Christ, who is God’s “dearly loved Son”. Satan starts each of the temptations with, “IF you are the Son of God…” The temptations are not just about desires or weakness or leadership – but about identity. Does Jesus know WHO He is? Can He live up to who He is? On one hand, we will never have the same temptation as Christ, because He is uniquely the Son of God, and Satan’s temptations were unique to Christ. On the other hand, we are regularly tempted and doubt our identity as the daughters and sons of God. We routinely do not live up to our character in the Spirit, our calling in Christ. The Father’s love has changed us – to our very character. This is the temptation we face every day – will we live out that true identity, or will we just settle for the stuff of earth?