He Parleyed Not With Temptation

Jesus did not condescend to explain to His enemy how He was the Son of God, and in what manner as such He was to act. In an insulting, taunting manner Satan referred to the present weakness and the distressed appearance of Christ in contrast with his own strength and glory. He taunted Christ with being a poor representative of the angels, much less of their exalted Commander, the acknowledged King in the royal courts, and that His present appearance indicated that He was forsaken of God and man. He said that if Christ was indeed the Son of God, the monarch of heaven, He had power equal with God, and He could give him evidence of this and relieve His hunger by working a miracle, by changing the stone just at His feet into bread. Satan promised that if Christ would do this he would at once yield his claims of superiority, and that the contest between himself and Christ should there be forever ended. Con 41.2

Christ did not appear to notice the reviling taunts of Satan. He was not provoked to give him proofs of His power, but meekly bore his insults without retaliation. The words spoken from heaven at His baptism were precious evidence to Him that His Father approved the steps He was taking in the plan of salvation, as man's substitute and surety. The opening heavens and descent of the heavenly dove were assurances that His Father would unite His power in heaven with that of His Son upon the earth to rescue man from the control of Satan, and that God accepted the effort of Christ to link earth to heaven, and finite man to the infinite God. Con 42.1

The tokens received from His Father were inexpressibly precious to the Son of God through all His severe sufferings and the terrible conflict with the rebel chief. And while enduring the test of God in the wilderness, and through His entire ministry, He had nothing to do in convincing Satan of His power and that He was the Saviour of the world. Satan had sufficient evidence of His exalted station. His unwillingness to ascribe to Jesus the honor due to Him, and to manifest submission as a subordinate, ripened into rebellion against God and shut him out of heaven. Con 42.2

It was not part of the mission of Christ to exercise His divine power for His own benefit, to relieve Himself of suffering. This He had volunteered to take upon Himself. He had condescended to take man's nature, and He was to suffer the inconveniences, ills, and afflictions of the human family. He was not to perform miracles on His own account; He came to save others. The object of His mission was to bring blessings, hope, and life to the afflicted and oppressed. He was to bear the burdens and griefs of suffering humanity. Con 42.3

Although Christ was suffering the keenest pangs of hunger, He withstood the temptation. He repulsed Satan with the same scripture He had given Moses to repeat to rebellious Israel when their diet was restricted and they were clamoring for flesh meats in the wilderness, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” In this declaration, and also by His example, Christ would show man that hunger for temporal food was not the greatest calamity that could befall him. Satan flattered our first parents that eating the fruit which God had forbidden them would bring to them great good, and would insure them against death, the very opposite of the truth which God had declared to them. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” If Adam had been obedient he would have known neither want, sorrow, nor death. Con 43.1

If the people who lived before the Flood had been obedient to the word of God they would not have perished by the waters of the Flood. If the Israelites had been obedient to the words of God, He would have bestowed upon them special blessings. But they fell in consequence of the indulgence of appetite and passion. They would not be obedient to the words of God. Indulgence of perverted appetite led them into numerous and grievous sins. If they had made the requirements of God their first consideration, and their physical wants secondary, in submission to God's choice of proper food for them, not one of them would have fallen in the wilderness. They would have been established in the goodly land of Canaan, a holy, happy people with not a feeble one in all their tribes. Con 43.2

The Saviour of the world became sin for the race. In becoming man's substitute Christ did not manifest His power as the Son of God, but ranked Himself among the sons of men. He was to bear the trial of temptation as a man, in man's behalf, under the most trying circumstances, and leave an example of faith and perfect trust in His heavenly Father. Christ knew that His Father would supply Him food when it would be for His glory. He would not in this severe ordeal, when hunger pressed Him beyond measure, prematurely diminish one particle of the trial allotted to Him by exercising His divine power. Con 44.1

Fallen man when brought into straightened places could not have the power to work miracles on his own behalf, to save himself from pain or anguish, or to give himself victory over his enemies. It was the purpose of God to test and prove the race, and give them an opportunity to develop character by bringing them frequently into trying positions to test their faith and confidence in His love and power. The life of Christ was a perfect pattern. He was ever, by His example and teachings, teaching man that God was his dependence, and that in Him should be his faith and firm trust. Con 44.2

Christ knew that Satan was a liar from the beginning, and it required strong self-control to listen to the propositions of this insulting deceiver and not instantly rebuke his bold assumptions. Satan was expecting that the Son of God would in His extreme weakness and agony of spirit give him an opportunity to obtain advantage over Him by provoking Him to engage in controversy with him. He designed to pervert the words of Christ and claim advantage, and call to his aid his fallen angels to use their utmost power to prevail against and overcome Him. Con 44.3

The Saviour of the world had no controversy with Satan, who was expelled from heaven because he was no longer worthy of a place there. He who could influence the angels of God against their Supreme Ruler, and against His Son, their loved Commander, and enlist their sympathy for himself, was capable of any deception. Four thousand years he had been warring against the government of God and had lost none of his skill or power to tempt and deceive. Con 45.1