Humble Hero


The Victory

This chapter is based on Matthew 4:5-11; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:5-13.

“Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge concerning you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”’” HH 50.1

Satan still appeared as an angel of light, and he made it evident that he was acquainted with the Scriptures. Jesus had used the Word to sustain His faith, and the tempter now used it to make his deception seem acceptable. Satan urged the Savior to give still another evidence of His faith. HH 50.2

But again he prefaced the temptation with the hint of distrust: “If You are the Son of God.” Christ was tempted to answer the “if,” but He refused to do anything that would involve the slightest acceptance of the doubt. HH 50.3

The tempter thought to take advantage of Christ’s humanity and urge Him to go beyond what God allowed. But while Satan can invite, he cannot compel to sin. He said, “Cast Yourself down,” knowing that he could not cast Him down. Nor could Satan force Jesus to cast Himself down. Unless Christ consented to temptation, He could not be overcome. HH 50.4

The tempter can never force us to do evil. The will must consent, faith must let go its hold on Christ, before Satan can exercise his power on us. But every sinful desire we cherish is an open door that he can enter to tempt and destroy us. And every failure on our part gives him opportunity to throw contempt on Christ. HH 50.5

When Satan quoted the promise, “He shall give His angels charge concerning you,” he omitted the words, “to keep you in all your ways,” that is, in all the ways of God’s choosing. Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. He would not force God to come to His rescue and so fail to give us an example of trust and submission. HH 50.6

Jesus declared to Satan, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” God had already testified that Jesus was His Son. To ask for proof now would be putting God’s word to the test—tempting Him. We should not present our requests to God to prove whether He will fulfill His word, but because He will fulfill it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us. See Hebrews 11:6. Presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but it uses them to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God and obey His commands. Presumption led them to disobey His law, believing that His great love would save them from the results of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which God grants His mercy. HH 50.7