The Signs of the Times


December 3, 1902

“In All Points Tempted Like As We Are”


Christ came to this world as a man, to prove to angels and to men that man may overcome, that in every emergency he may know that the powers of Heaven are ready to help him. Our Saviour took the nature of man, with all its possibilities. We have nothing to endure that He has not endured. ST December 3, 1902, par. 1

At Christ's baptism the glory of God rested upon Him, as a dove of burnished gold. Light from the throne of God encircled Him, while from heaven were heard the words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” ST December 3, 1902, par. 2

Then Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness; and here His test came. He went into the wilderness to be alone, to contemplate His mission and work. By fasting and prayer He was to brace Himself for the bloodstained path He must travel. But Satan knew that the Saviour had gone into the wilderness; and he thought this the best time to approach Him. ST December 3, 1902, par. 3

Before beginning His public ministry, Christ submitted to the fierce assaults of the enemy, knowing that without conflict there could be no victory. He condescended to engage in the contest under any circumstances that the foe might require. In all things He was made “like unto His brethren.” He was “in all points tempted like as we are.” “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” ST December 3, 1902, par. 4

In the wilderness Christ and Satan met in combat, Christ in the weakness of humanity, apparently with not a friend to aid Him. Satan is subtle. It is by falsehood that he seeks to prevail. With all the power that he possessed, he tried to overcome the Son of Man. Could he lead the Saviour to swerve a hair's breadth from His allegiance to God, the victory would be his. The world would pass under his control. ST December 3, 1902, par. 5

Satan charmed the first Adam by his sophistry, just as he charms men and women today, leading them to believe a lie. Adam did not reach above his humanity for divine power. He believed the words of Satan. But the second Adam was not to become the enemy's bondslave. ST December 3, 1902, par. 6

Adam had the advantage over Christ, in that when he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing full vigor of body and mind. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of degradation. ST December 3, 1902, par. 7

Every device that the enemy could suggest was brought against Him. It was when Christ was in a weakened condition, after His long fast of forty days, that the wisest of the fallen angels used the most enticing words at his command in an effort to compel the mind of Christ to yield to his mind. ST December 3, 1902, par. 8

“If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Here is the insinuation of distrust. In the tones of the tempter's voice is an expression of utter incredulity. Would God treat His own Son thus? Would He leave Him in the desert with wild beasts, without food, without companions, without comfort? Satan insinuated that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this. “If Thou be the Son of God,” he says, “show Thy power by relieving Thyself of this pressing hunger. Command that this stone be made bread.” ST December 3, 1902, par. 9

In His reply Christ made no reference to the doubt. He was not to prove His divinity to Satan, or to explain the reason of His humiliation. “It is written,” He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” He met Satan with the words of Scripture. In every temptation the weapon of His warfare was the Word of God. Satan demanded of Christ a miracle as the sign of His divinity. But that which is greater than all miracles, a firm reliance on a “Thus saith the Lord,” was a sign that could not be controverted. So long as Christ held this position, the tempter could gain no advantage. ST December 3, 1902, par. 10

When Christ said to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” He repeated the words that, more than fourteen hundred years before, He had spoken to Israel: “The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, ... and He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” In the wilderness, when all means of sustenance failed, God sent His people manna from heaven, and a sufficient and constant supply was given. This provision was to teach them that while they trusted in God, and walked in His ways, He would not forsake them. The Saviour now practised the lesson He had taught to Israel. By the word of God succor had been given the Hebrew host, and by the same word it would be given to Jesus. He awaited God's time to bring relief. He was in the wilderness in obedience to God, and He would not consent to obtain food by following the suggestions of Satan. In the presence of the witnessing universe He testified that it is a less calamity to suffer whatever may befall than to depart in any manner from the will of God. ST December 3, 1902, par. 11

(Concluded next week.)