Summary: What Jesus does in the desert puts right the wrong that was done in the garden. Satan had been waiting for this as he watched Jesus grow day by day. Jesus restored the beauty and perfection that was the Garden of Eden while in the desolation of the desert
A Snake in the Sand
The greatest battle between a man and Satan is the one recorded here concerning Jesus temptation in the desert. Jesus has just been baptized by John the Baptist and as a result Jesus is revealed as the Lamb of God as John puts it.
The Holy Spirit has come upon him like a dove and a booming voice acknowledges that Jesus is Gods son in whom he is well pleased.
Jesus baptism was his spiritual coming out party. Prior to this Jesus lived a quiet life as a carpenter. He went to the temple and followed the Jewish faith obediently. He provided for his family and no doubt set the best example a person could to his step brothers and sisters.
But now it was time to step out according to Gods timetable and put into motion the redemption of mankind and fulfill the promises made to Abraham. The Messiah had arrived at the right place and time in history and his name was Jesus of Nazareth.
Satan had been waiting for this as he watched Jesus grow day by day. No doubt Satan was perplexed about this one human being. Jesus was different he never sinned and Satan had no record to accuse him with.
This was very troubling and most likely created a sense of fear in Satan. Satan had not known that kind of fear for some time. In fact it was reminiscent of the fear he first felt when he saw that man was created in Gods image.
That was a perplexing day. What had God done by making a creature that bore the creators image? That was in fact what Satan coveted. He wanted to be like God. He wanted to be worshiped and adored. Satan wanted to sit on the throne of The Most High. Satan wanted to be God. Yet God had cast him out of heaven and onto a place called earth.
To make matters worse there was a new creature called man that had the image of God the very image that Satan coveted. This likeness, sharing Gods image kept Satan at a safe distance for a little while.
But why talk of the Garden of Eden and the fall of man? You thought you were going to hear about Jesus in the desert. Well you see what Jesus does in the desert puts right the wrong that was done in the garden.
Jesus has been without food for forty days fasting no doubt thirsty and near total physical exhaustion. Only now does Satan feel enough courage to approach only now is Jesus sufficiently vulnerable as a human being. You see Jesus is fully God yet fully man. To redeem mankind Jesus must accomplish for man what the first man could not. Jesus must resist and defeat the temptations of the devil.
Adam and Eve were not able to stand against the great temptations of Satan. Satan had kept his distance and studied the new couple then he struck and like a snake flung himself at his prey. Satan caught Eve alone and near the Tree of Knowledge. This was the same tree that God had said not to eat from. But Satan twisted Gods words. Did God really say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?
Satan knew full well that there were only two trees that were off limits the Tree of Eternal Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan used Eves hunger and the sense of sight to entice her to disobey Gods word. What is worse Eve fails to recall Gods exact words and says that if she even touches the forbidden fruit she will die but God said she would die once she ate it not touch it.
Jesus meets Satan and Jesus is hungry. Satan pulls out the same old repertoire he knows that if Jesus is tricked into using his miraculous power that the battle is over for Jesus will have responded as God and not as man by turning the rocks into bread. Jesus the man wants and needs bread and Satan knows this. But Jesus the Son of God refuses to use his divine power and instead responds with the bread of life which is Gods word.
Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Deut 8:3. Jesus responded to temptation in a way that Eve did not. Jesus quotes Gods word exactly and uses it not as an explanation but as a basis for living a life true to Gods instruction. Jesus wins this first temptation battle and we learn that in order to overcome the desires of the flesh and our human appetites for what our eyes desire we must use Gods word as a weapon against the lusts of the flesh.