We all most likely know this story. Jesus was tempted after 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. It is obvious where the temptation was coming from and that Jesus could reasonably resist, but what was significant about these specific scenarios? Again, these are my views. Please research and pray to find the relevant answers for your walk with God.
Stones to Bread
What was the big deal here? Jesus was hungry and he had the power to feed himself. Was it just a denial of appetite, or was there a deeper meaning here?
We see later Jesus performing similar miracles when feeding the multitudes. In the Gospel of John, the people see the miracle that Jesus has done and then attempt to forcibly crown him king (John 6:14-15). Perhaps this was the point. Jesus’ mission wasn’t to dazzle people into following him because of his miracles. Then, he would just be a vending machine or genie that would be for the whims of the people tagging along. Jesus knew that this wasn’t the right way to bring the Kingdom though it might be our human reaction if we could perform the same type of feats. How tempted would I be to garner followers for God if I could feed multitudes of people through miracles? The people followed Jesus to the other side of the lake, not because they were seeking the spiritual kingdom, but because they were seeking a physical one (John 6:26-27).
The second temptation was at the top of the temple. If Jesus were to throw himself from there, then the angels would catch him. What could be the deeper point in this?
The religious leaders were the ones who had the hardest time believing who Jesus was. A feat like this, in the temple, would certainly prove to all present that he was indeed the Son of God. Once the religious leaders were on board, Jesus would be able to spread the Kingdom much easier….except….this would have just created another religion, with the same religious leaders in charge. They would have seen Jesus’ power and followed him for that and not because they loved him.
The third temptation was for Jesus to rule over the world through worshiping the deceiver. Jesus, of coarse, refused, but what could be the deeper meaning here?
Jesus had the power at his disposal to force world peace, but this is the deceiver’s method and has no love in it.
God’s plan has always been to win our hearts through love. If through miracles, we would only follow for the “blessings” he would give. If through religious authority, we would only follow him out of obligation that we have to. If through force and threats, we would only follow him out of fear. I believe these to be the deeper meanings behind why Jesus pursued his ministry like he did. Today, we still try to force a physical kingdom through acts, religion, and/or fear. Jesus didn’t take the expected paths to bring his Kingdom, but instead chose the path of love!