Story of Hope


Chapter 7 - The Deliverer

The time came when Jesus was to take upon Himself human nature, humble Himself as a man, and experience the temptations of Satan. SH 51.1

He was born without worldly grandeur, in a stable and cradled in a manger. Yet His birth was honored far above that of any other human being. Angels from heaven informed the shepherds of Jesus’ arrival, and light and glory from God accompanied their testimony. The heavenly host touched their harps and glorified God. Triumphantly they heralded the advent of the Son of God to a fallen world to accomplish the work of redemption, and by His death to bring peace, happiness, and everlasting life to mankind. God honored the advent of His Son. Angels worshiped Him. SH 51.2

The Baptism of Jesus—Some thirty years later, angels of God hovered over the scene of His baptism. The Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove and rested on Him, and as the people stood greatly amazed, with their eyes fastened on Him, they heard the Fathers voice from heaven, saying, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:11. SH 51.3

John was not certain that it was the Savior who came to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. But God had promised him a sign by which he would know the Lamb of God. John recognized that sign when the heavenly dove rested on Jesus and the glory of God shone around Him. John reached out his hand, pointing to Jesus, and with a loud voice cried out, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29. SH 51.4

The Ministry of John—John informed his disciples that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. As Johns work was closing, he taught his disciples to look to Jesus and follow Him as the Great Teacher. Johns life was sorrowful and self-denying. He announced the first advent of Christ but was not permitted to witness His miracles and enjoy the power that He manifested. When Jesus established Himself as a teacher, John knew that he himself must die. His voice was seldom heard, except in the wilderness. His life was lonely. He did not cling to his fathers family, to enjoy their society, but left them in order to fulfill his mission. Crowds of people left the busy cities and villages, flocking to the wilderness to hear the words of the wonderful prophet. John went to the heart of the peoples problem. He reproved sin, fearless of consequences, and prepared the way for the Lamb of God. SH 51.5

Herod was stirred as he listened to the powerful, pointed testimonies of John, and with deep interest he inquired what he must do to become his disciple. John knew that Herod was about to marry his brothers wife while her husband was still living, and he faithfully told Herod that this was not lawful. Herod was unwilling to make any sacrifice. He married his brother’s wife and, influenced by her, arrested John and put him in prison, intending, however, to release him. While John was confined there, through his disciples he heard of the mighty works of Jesus. He could not go to listen to His gracious words, but the disciples informed him and comforted him with what they had heard. Soon John was beheaded, through the influence of Herod’s wife. The humblest disciples who followed Jesus, witnessed His miracles, and heard the comforting words he spoke, were greater than John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:11); that is, they were more exalted and honored, and had more pleasure in their lives. SH 52.1

John came in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the first advent of Jesus. Luke 1:17. John represented those in the last days who would go out in the spirit and power of Elijah to proclaim the day of wrath and the second advent of Jesus. SH 52.2

The Temptation—After the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. The Holy Spirit had prepared Him for that special scene of fierce temptations. Forty days He was tempted by Satan, and in those days He ate nothing. Everything around Him was unpleasant, which human nature would want to avoid. 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 laid out for Him, and He must fulfill the work that He came to do. SH 52.3

Satan took advantage of the sufferings of the Son of God and prepared to harass Him with many temptations, hoping to win the victory over Him because He had humbled Himself as a man. Satan came with this temptation: “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” He tempted Jesus to condescend to give him proof that He was the Messiah, by exercising His divine power. Jesus mildly answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Luke 4:3, 4. SH 53.1

Satan wanted to dispute with Jesus concerning His being the Son of God. He referred to His weak, suffering condition and boastingly affirmed that he was stronger than Jesus. But Gods testimony from heaven, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22), was sufficient to sustain Jesus through all His sufferings. Christ had no obligation to convince Satan of His power or that He was the Savior of the world. Satan has ample evidence of the exalted position and authority of the Son of God. His unwillingness to yield to Christs authority had shut him out of heaven. SH 53.2

To show his own power, Satan carried Jesus to Jerusalem and set Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and there he tempted Him to give evidence that He was the Son of God by throwing Himself down from that dizzy height. Satan came with the inspired words the Bible: “For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Luke 4:10-12. Satan wanted to make Jesus presume on the mercy of His Father and risk His life before He could fulfill His mission. He had hoped that the plan of salvation would fail, but the plan was laid too deep for Satan to overthrow or mar it. SH 53.3

Christ is the example for all Christians. When they are tempted or their rights are disputed, they should bear it patiently. They should not feel that they have a right to call on the Lord to display His power so that they may obtain a victory over their enemies, unless God can be directly honored and glorified by doing so. If Jesus had thrown Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, it would not have glorified His Father, for no one would have witnessed the act but Satan and the angels of God. And it would have been tempting the Lord to display His power to His bitterest foe. It would have been condescending to the one whom Jesus came to conquer. SH 54.1

“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.’ “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” ‘ ” Luke 4:5-8. SH 54.2

Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world in the most attractive light. If Jesus would worship him right there, he offered to give up his claims to the possessions of earth. If the plan of salvation were carried out and Jesus should die to redeem sinners, Satan knew that his own power would be limited and finally taken away, and that he would be destroyed. Therefore it was his studied plan, if possible, to prevent Jesus from completing the great work He had begun. If God’s plan of redemption should fail, Satan would retain the kingdom that he then claimed. He flattered himself that then he would reign in opposition to the God of heaven. SH 54.3

The Tempter Rebuked—Satan was elated when Jesus laid aside His power and glory and left heaven. He thought that this placed the Son of God in his power. The temptation took so easily with the holy pair in Eden that he hoped by his Satanic power and cunning to overthrow even the Son of God, and so save his own life and kingdom. If he could tempt Jesus to stray from the will of His Father, he would achieve his goal. But Jesus met the tempter with the rebuke, “Get behind Me, Satan!” He was to bow only to His Father. SH 54.4

Satan claimed the kingdom of earth as his and suggested to Jesus that He could avoid all His sufferings, that He did not need to die to obtain the kingdoms of this world. If He just would worship him, He could have all the possessions of earth and the glory of reigning over them. But Jesus was unmoved. He knew that the time was to come when, at the cost of His own life, He would redeem the kingdom from Satan, and that, after a time, all in heaven and earth would submit to Him. He chose His life of suffering and His dreadful death as the way that His Father had appointed for Him to become a lawful heir to the kingdoms of earth and have them given into His hands as an everlasting possession. Satan also will be given into His hands to be destroyed by death, never again to annoy Jesus or His redeemed people in glory. SH 55.1