When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him [Jesus] until an opportune time.
It would seem that the devil had already found the most opportune time to tempt Jesus as He had fasted 40 days in the wilderness. Imagine nothing to eat for forty days. The fast has ended. Imagine that hunger … being ravenous to eat anything in sight or having become so hungry that one is almost immune to the hunger pangs. The devil tempts Jesus and presents Him with such an easy way to satisfy His hunger. Jesus is bidden to command a stone to become a loaf of bread. If God is able to take stones and raise them up as sons of Abraham, (See Luke 3:8), then surely Jesus could have easily commanded a stone to become bread and satisfy His hunger. To this temptation Jesus responded, “One does not live by bread alone.”
Now remember Jesus is still hungry and He follows the devil to a high place where He can see all the kingdoms of the world. There the devil and Jesus are together and we notice the devil has a nice fresh crusty loaf of warm bread tucked under his arm. Jesus is told if He will worship the devil then all the authority and glory of these kingdoms will be handed over to Him. Jesus responds, “Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”
Now remember Jesus is still hungry and the devil takes Him to Jerusalem and He stands on the pinnacle of the temple. Meanwhile the devil himself has gotten hungry and digs into that nice fresh crusty loaf of warm bread and smacks his lips. Sure you don’t want some of this bread, Jesus? It tastes mighty good. Then the devil tells Him if you are the Son of God throw yourself down from here. This time the devil plies his temptation of Jesus with words of scripture. “He [God] will command the angels concerning you, to protect you; and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” The Jesus answered, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus had to have been very vulnerable, but He withstood these temptations.
The last sentence of this passage tells us when the devil finished every test, he departed from Jesus until an opportune time. You and I know that the opportune time was when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane … praying that He would withstand the devil’s temptation for Jesus to exert His own will rather than submitting to the will of God that would lead to crucifixion and death. Thanks be to God once again the devil was defeated as Jesus withstood the temptations he hurled at Him.
O God, we thank You that Jesus withstood the temptations of the devil and did not sin. Help us to be strong … to resist temptation and to live according to Your will, especially when we are tempted and vulnerable. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.