Was led by the Spirit - Or, And was carried about, ηγετο . Matthew says, ανηχθη, he was brought up. Mark says, the Spirit driveth him εκβαλλει - putteth him forth. But each of the evangelists attributes this to the Holy Ghost, not to Satan. It may be useful to remark here, that, during the forty days and forty nights in which he is said to have been tempted by the devil, he is carried about, continually sustained and supported, by the Holy Ghost. Let those who are tempted by Satan look for, and, in virtue of the power and intercession of Christ, claim, the same support; and it matters little how many days they may be assaulted by the devil, while they are carried about by the Spirit of God.
On the temptation of Jesus, see the notes at Matthew 4:1-11.
Being forty days tempted - That is, through forty days he was “tried” in various ways by the devil. The temptations, however, which are recorded by Matthew and Luke did not take place until the forty days were finished. See Matthew 4:2-3.
He did eat nothing - He was sustained by the power of God during this season of extraordinary fasting.
Departed for a season - For a time. From this it appears that our Saviour was “afterward” subjected to temptations by Satan, but no “particular” temptations are recorded after this. From John 14:30, it seems that the devil tried or tempted him in the agony in Gethsemane. Compare the notes at Hebrews 12:4. It is more than probable, also, that Satan did much to excite the Pharisees and Sadducees to endeavor to “entangle him,” and the priests and rulers to oppose him; yet out of all his temptations God delivered him; and so he will make a way to escape for “all” that are tempted, and will not suffer them to be tempted above that which they are able to bear, 1 Corinthians 10:13.
In the power of the Spirit - By the “influence” or direction of the Spirit.
A fame - A report. See Matthew 4:24.
From the Jordan, Jesus was led into the wilderness of temptation. “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:2, 3). 3SM 128.3Read in context »
Whatever his educational attainments, only he who realizes his accountability to God, and who is led by the Holy Spirit, can be an effectual teacher, or be successful in winning to God those who are brought under his influence. Shall those who do not heed the divine counsel be acknowledged as leaders in the Lord's institutions?—God forbid. How can we regard as safe guides those who manifest a spirit of unbelief, and who, in words and character, fail of revealing true godliness? TDG 248.3Read in context »
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” The words of Mark are still more significant. He says, “Immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts.” “And in those days He did eat nothing.” DA 114.1Read in context »
John came in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the first advent of Jesus. I was pointed down to the last days and saw that John represented those who should go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to herald the day of wrath and the second advent of Jesus. EW 155.1
After the baptism of Jesus in Jordan, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. The Holy Spirit had prepared Him for that special scene of fierce temptations. Forty days He was tempted of Satan, and in those days He ate nothing. Everything around Him was unpleasant, from which human nature would be led to shrink. He was with the wild beasts and the devil, in a desolate, lonely place. The Son of God was pale and emaciated, through fasting and suffering. But His course was marked out, and He must fulfill the work which He came to do. EW 155.2
Satan took advantage of the sufferings of the Son of God and prepared to beset Him with manifold temptations, hoping to obtain the victory over Him, because He had humbled Himself as a man. Satan came with this temptation: “If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.” He tempted Jesus to condescend to give him proof of His being the Messiah, by exercising His divine power. Jesus mildly answered him, “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” EW 155.3Read in context »
Christ was our example in all things. As we see His humiliation in the long trial and fast in the wilderness to overcome the temptations of appetite in our behalf, we are to take this lesson home to ourselves when we are tempted. If the power of appetite is so strong upon the human family, and its indulgence so fearful that the Son of God subjected Himself to such a test, how important that we feel the necessity of having appetite under the control of reason. Our Saviour fasted nearly six weeks, that He might gain for man the victory upon the point of appetite. How can professed Christians with an enlightened conscience, and Christ before them as their pattern, yield to the indulgence of those appetites which have an enervating influence upon the mind and heart? It is a painful fact that habits of self-gratification at the expense of health, and the weakening of moral power, are holding in the bonds of slavery at the present time a large share of the Christian world. 1SM 284.1
Many who profess godliness do not inquire into the reason of Christ's long period of fasting and suffering in the wilderness. His anguish was not so much from enduring the pangs of hunger as from His sense of the fearful result of the indulgence of appetite and passion upon the race. He knew that appetite would be man's idol, and would lead him to forget God, and would stand directly in the way of his salvation. 1SM 284.2Read in context »
The time had now come when Satan's empire over the world was to be contested, his right disputed, and he feared that his power would be broken. He knew, through prophecy, that a Saviour was predicted, and that His kingdom would not be established in earthly triumph and with worldly honor and display. He knew that the prophecies foretold a kingdom to be established by the Prince of heaven upon the earth which he claimed as his dominion. This kingdom would embrace all the kingdoms of the world, and then the power and glory of Satan would cease, and he would receive his retribution for the sins he had introduced into the world, and for the misery he had brought upon the human race. He knew that everything which concerned his prosperity was depending upon his success or failure in overcoming Christ with his temptations; and he brought to bear on the Saviour every artifice at his command to allure Him from His integrity (The Signs of the Times, August 4, 1887). 5BC 1079.1
16, 17 (Ephesians 1:6. See EGW on Matthew 4:1-11). A Pledge of Love and Light—In our behalf the Saviour laid hold of the power of Omnipotence, and as we pray to God, we may know that Christ's prayer has ascended before, and that God has heard and answered it. With all our sins and weaknesses we are not cast aside as worthless. “He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge of the love of God for us. It tells of the power of prayer,—how the human voice may reach the ear of God, and our petitions find acceptance in the courts of heaven. The light that fell from the open portals upon the head of our Saviour, will fall upon us as we pray for help to resist temptation. The voice that spoke to Jesus says to every believing soul, “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased” (Manuscript 125, 1902). 5BC 1079.2
Assurance of Acceptance—Through the gates ajar there streamed bright beams of glory from the throne of Jehovah, and this light shines even upon us. The assurance given to Christ is assurance to every repenting, believing, obedient child of God that he is accepted in the Beloved (The Signs of the Times, July 31, 1884). 5BC 1079.3Read in context »
Significance of Christ's Victory—After His baptism, Christ was led of the Spirit into the wilderness. He had taken humanity upon Himself, and Satan boasted that he would overcome Him, as he had overcome the strong men of the past ages, and he assailed Him with the temptations that had caused man's downfall. It was in this world that the great conflict between Christ and Satan was to be decided. If the tempter could succeed in overcoming Christ in even one point, the world must be left to perish. Satan would have power to bruise the heel of the Son of God; but the seed of the woman was to bruise the serpent's head: Christ was to baffle the prince of the powers of darkness. For forty days Christ fasted in the wilderness. What was this for? Was there anything in the character of the Son of God that required such great humiliation and suffering? No, He was sinless. All this humiliation and keen anguish were endured for the sake of fallen man, and never can we comprehend the grievous character of the sin of indulging perverted appetite except as we comprehend the spiritual meaning of the long fast of the Son of God. Never can we understand the strength and bondage of appetite until we discern the character of the Saviour's conflict in overcoming Satan, and thus placing man on vantage ground, where, through the merit of the blood of Christ, he may be able to resist the powers of darkness, and overcome in his own behalf. Te 275.1
After this long fast, Christ was in a famishing condition, and in His weakness Satan assailed Him with the fiercest temptations. “The devil said unto him, If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.” Satan represented himself as the messenger of God, claiming that God had seen the willingness of the Saviour to place His feet in the path of self-denial, and that He was not required to suffer further humiliation and pain, but might be released from the terrible conflict that was before Him as the Redeemer of the world. He tried to persuade Him that God designed only to test His fidelity, that now His loyalty was fully manifest, and He was at liberty to use His divine power to relieve His necessities. But Christ discerned the temptation, and declared, “It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Te 275.2
When tempted to the unlawful gratification of appetite, you should remember the example of Christ, and stand firm, overcoming as Christ overcame. You should answer, saying, “Thus saith the Lord,” and in this way settle the question forever with the prince of darkness. If you parley with temptation, and use your own words, feeling self-sufficient, full of self-importance, you will be overcome. The weapons which Christ used were the words of God, “It is written;” and if you wield the sword of the Spirit, you also may come off victorious through the merit of your Redeemer. Te 276.1Read in context »
Parents, are you teaching your children to overcome? Are you seeking to check the tide of evil that threatens to overwhelm our land? Mothers, are you doing your work as educators? Are you teaching your children in their childhood habits of self-control and temperance? Do not wait till passion holds them in its iron bands, but now take them to God, teach them that Jesus loves them, that Heaven has claims upon them. In their youth put their hands into the hands of Christ, that He may lead them up. Mothers, rouse to your moral responsibility, and work for your children as those who must give an account. We must do something to stop the tide of evil, that the children and youth may not be swept down to perdition. We must be overcomers, and must teach our children to overcome. Te 282.1
Christ Overcame in Our Behalf—In the wilderness of temptation, Christ passed over the ground where Adam fell. He began the work where the ruin began, and on the point of appetite He overcame the power of the evil one in our behalf. Satan left the field a vanquished foe, and no one is excused from entering the battle on the Lord's side, for there is no reason why man may not be an overcomer if he trusts in Christ. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Te 282.2
Through the merits of Christ we are to be purified, refined, redeemed, and given a place with Christ on His throne. Could any greater honor be conferred upon man than this? Could we aspire to anything greater? If we are overcomers, Christ declares, “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.”—The Signs of the Times, June 22, 29, and The Signs of the Times, July 6, 1891. Te 283.1Read in context »
Christ Tested on the Three Leading Temptations—Christ entered into the wilderness with the Spirit of God upon Him, to be tempted of the devil. The enemy was to tempt the Son of God. Christ was tempted with the three leading temptations wherewith man is beset. Te 285.1
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days He did eat nothing: and when they were ended, He afterward hungered. And the devil said unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Here was the Son of the infinite God, and Satan came as an angel of light to Him. Here he tempted Him on the point of appetite. Christ was hungry and in need of food. Why did He not work this miracle? It was not in God's plan, for Christ was to work no miracle on His own account. What was His position? He was passing over the ground where Adam fell. Adam had everything that his wants required. But fierce hunger was upon Christ, and what He wanted was food. The devil was foiled in this temptation. Te 285.2
“Then the devil taketh Him up into the Holy City, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” What did he leave out the other part for, which says, “to keep thee in all thy ways”? While Christ was in the ways of God, no harm could come to Him. Jesus said of Satan, he found “nothing in Me.” This temptation of Satan to Christ was a dare. Satan said, “If” Thou be the Son of God. What would have been gained if Christ did as Satan asked Him to do? Nothing. Christ meets him with “It is written.” Satan saw he could do nothing there. Te 285.3Read in context »
The strength of the temptation to indulge perverted appetite can be measured only by the longsuffering of Christ in His long fast in the wilderness. Christ knew that in order to carry out the plan of salvation, He must begin the work of redemption just where the ruin began. Adam fell on the point of appetite. Christ took up the work of redemption just where the ruin began. The same is true of our experience. We are to begin the work of reform just where the work of degeneracy is so keenly felt.—Letter 218, July 16, 1908, to a conference president. TDG 206.5Read in context »
After the Saviour had fasted forty days and forty nights, “he was afterward an hungered.” Then it was that Satan appeared to Him. He came as a beautiful angel from heaven, claiming that he had a commission from God to declare the Saviour's fast at an end. “If thou be the Son of God,” he said to Christ, “command that these stones be made bread” (Matthew 4:3). But in Satan's insinuation of distrust, Christ recognized the enemy whose power He had come to earth to resist. He would not accept the challenge, nor be moved by the temptation. He stood firmly to the affirmative. “Man shall not live by bread alone,” He said, “but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Verse 4). UL 255.2Read in context »
[Appeared in Notebook Leaflets, Christian Experience, No. 15.]
It is expressly stated that Satan works in the children of disobedience, not merely having access to their minds, but working through their influence, conscious and unconscious, to draw others into the same disobedience. If evil angels have such power over the children of men in their disobedience, how much greater power the good angels have over those who are striving to be obedient. When we put our trust in Jesus Christ, working obedience unto righteousness, angels of God work in our hearts unto righteousness.… 1SM 94.1Read in context »
Incarnation—The Nature of Christ
[This article appeared in The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898.]Read in context »
The Son of God placed Himself in the sinner's stead, and passed over the ground where Adam fell, and endured the temptation in the wilderness, which was a hundredfold stronger than was or ever will be brought to bear upon the human race. Jesus resisted the temptations of Satan in the same manner that every tempted soul may resist, by referring him to the inspired record and saying, “It is written.” 3SM 136.2Read in context »
1, 2 (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 2:51; 4:1-13). Between the Temptation of Christ and the Marriage at Cana—There was to be a marriage in Cana of Galilee. The parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary. Christ knew of this family gathering, and that many influential persons would be brought together there, so, in company with His newly made disciples, He made His way to Cana. As soon as it was known that Jesus had come to the place, a special invitation was sent to Him and His friends. This was what He had purposed, and so He graced the feast with His presence. 5BC 1132.1
He had been separated from His mother for quite a length of time. During this period He had been baptized by John and had endured the temptations in the wilderness. Rumors had reached Mary concerning her son and His sufferings. John, one of the new disciples, had searched for Christ and had found Him in His humiliation, emaciated, and bearing the marks of great physical and mental distress. Jesus, unwilling that John should witness His humiliation, had gently yet firmly dismissed him from His presence. He wished to be alone; no human eye must behold His agony, no human heart be called out in sympathy with His distress. 5BC 1132.2Read in context »
In Christ's Sermon on the Mount He says: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” If you lay up treasures in heaven, you do it for yourself, you are working for your own interest. Your treasure, my dear brother, is laid up on the earth, and your interest and affections are on your treasure. You have cultivated a love for money, for houses and lands, until it has absorbed the powers of your mind and being, and your love for worldly possessions has been greater than your love for your Creator and for the souls for whom Christ died. The god of this world has blinded your eyes so that eternal things are not valued. 4T 44.1
In the wilderness of temptation Christ met the great leading temptations that would assail man. There He encountered, singlehanded, the wily, subtle foe, and overcame him. The first great temptation was upon appetite; the second, presumption; the third, love of the world. Satan has overcome his millions by tempting them to the indulgence of appetite. Through the gratification of the taste, the nervous system becomes excited and the brain power enfeebled, making it impossible to think calmly or rationally. The mind is unbalanced. Its higher, nobler faculties are perverted to serve animal lust, and the sacred, eternal interests are not regarded. When this object is gained, Satan can come with his two other leading temptations and find ready access. His manifold temptations grow out of these three great leading points. 4T 44.2
Presumption is a common temptation, and as Satan assails men with this, he obtains the victory nine times out of ten. Those who profess to be followers of Christ, and claim by their faith to be enlisted in the warfare against all evil in their nature, frequently plunge without thought into temptations from which it would require a miracle to bring them forth unsullied. Meditation and prayer would have preserved them and led them to shun the critical, dangerous position in which they placed themselves when they gave Satan the advantage over them. The promises of God are not for us rashly to claim while we rush on recklessly into danger, violating the laws of nature and disregarding prudence and the judgment with which God has endowed us. This is the most flagrant presumption. 4T 44.3Read in context »
If Christ had not held to the affirmative in the wilderness of temptation, He would have lost all that He desired to gain. Christ's way is the best way to meet our opponents. We strengthen their arguments when we repeat what they say. Keep always to the affirmative. It may be that the very man who is opposing you will carry your words home and be converted to the sensible truth that has reached his understanding. 9T 148.1
I have often said to our brethren: “Your opponents will make statements about your work that are false. Do not repeat their statements; but hold to your assertions of the living truth, and angels of God will open the way before you. We have a great work to carry forward, and we must carry it in a sensible way. Let us never get excited or allow evil feelings to arise. Christ did not do this, and He is our example in all things. For the work given us to do we need much more of heavenly, sanctified, humble wisdom, and much less of self. We need to lay hold firmly on divine power.” 9T 148.2
Those who have departed from the faith will come to our congregations to divert our attention from the work that God would have done. You cannot afford to turn your ears from the truth to fables. Do not stop to try to convert the one who is speaking words of reproach against your work; but let it be seen that you are inspired by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and angels of God will put into your lips words that will reach the hearts of the opposers. If these men persist in pressing their way in, those who are of a sensible mind in the congregation will understand that yours is the higher standard. So speak that it will be known that Jesus Christ is speaking through you. 9T 148.3Read in context »
Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Matthew 4:1. TMK 32.1
Why was it that at the beginning of His public ministry Christ was led into the wilderness to be tempted? ... He went, not in His own behalf, but in our behalf; to overcome for us.... He was to be tried and tested as a representative of the race. He was to meet the foe in personal encounter, to overthrow him who claimed to be the head of the kingdoms of the world.52 TMK 32.2Read in context »
Let us consider how much it cost our Saviour in the wilderness of temptation to carry on in our behalf the conflict with the wily, malignant foe. Satan knew that everything depended upon his success or failure in his attempt to overcome Christ with his manifold temptations. Satan knew that the plan of salvation would be carried out to its fulfillment, that his power would be taken away, that his destruction would be certain, if Christ bore the test that Adam failed to endure. The temptations of Satan were most effective in degrading human nature, for man could not stand against their powerful influence; but Christ in man's behalf, as man's representative, resting wholly upon the power of God, endured the severe conflict, in order that He might be a perfect example to us. There is hope for man.... The work before us is to overcome as Christ overcame. He fasted forty days, and suffered the keenest pangs of hunger. Christ suffered on our account beyond our comprehension, and we should welcome trial and suffering on our own account for Christ's sake, that we may overcome as Christ also overcame, and be exalted to the throne of our Redeemer.... TMK 33.2Read in context »
In order to save humanity, Christ came down to the level of humanity, as far as worldly advantages were concerned. He came to this earth to be tempted in all points like as human beings are tempted. In the wilderness Satan came to Him and assailed Him on the great points on which he assails man, but the Saviour did not yield to the enemy. Not in a single particular was He overcome. And the temptations were just as real to Him as they are to us today. UL 195.3Read in context »