Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”Matthew 4:10 NIV
At the beginning of each of the two major divisions of the Bible we find a temptation story. In Genesis 3, the Serpent (or Satan) tempted Eve to eat from the forbidden tree. And in Matthew 4, Satan tempted Jesus in several different ways. While there are some similarities between these two accounts, there is one dramatic difference.
Satan tempted Eve, her desire kicked in, and she chose to disobey God’s explicit command. And the result was separation from God. Eve’s story is the story of all of humanity; a fall into bondage to sin. And the Old Testament is a reflection of this fall and ongoing rebellion.
Satan tempted Jesus to satisfy his human desires. Desires for nourishment and an easier way to achieve his goals. But Jesus chose not to surrender to human desire. Instead he chose to worship and obey his heavenly Father. And he became the way to escape from the bondage of sin. And this becomes the theme of the New Testament; recovery from the fall and new life in Christ.
On our own, when tempted, we will follow Eve’s example. We will be directed by our human desires. But when we are in Christ, we can follow his example, denying self and serving our creator. We can become the new humanity that he died to create. Hold firm against temptation, following the example of Jesus.