Matthew, Chapter 4

- י י י -

The Holy Spirit Leads Jesus to Satan

1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.(Matthew 4:1-11)

After Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River, the Holy Spirit leads him to meet Satan on a mountain overlooking Jericho where he will be forced to withstand a series of temptations. Jesus fasts for forty days and forty nights as he contends with Satan. The tempter tries to entice his hungry victim to turn stones into bread. However, Jesus replies by saying: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deuteronomy 3:8). Satan then places Jesus atop the roof of the Temple and instructs him to jump, as is written: “He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone” (Psalms 91:11-12). Jesus responds that it is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test” (Deuteronomy 6:16). For the final trial, Satan shows and promises Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth if he will only bow down before him. Jesus answers: “Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13).  Satan’s temptations are material, transitory, and destructive. Jesus withstands these temptations, understanding fully that restricting one’s human impulses and weaknesses is a precondition for enlightenment and spiritual ascent.

Abstinence is avoiding addictive pleasures.