MDB 1: Matthew 4
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil" (Matt. 4:1)
Jesus' encounter with the devil was an appointment he had to keep. It was established within the terms of the covenant of redemption in the counsels of eternity. In order for the kingdom of God to be established, the kingdom of darkness has to be plundered. Jesus must disarm "the rulers and authorities" and put them to shame, triumphing over them in the cross (Col. 2:14).
What is in view in these temptations is not merely personal but cosmic: the Spirit had come on Christ at his baptism (Matt. 3:16), hovering over him in a way reminiscent of the creation story (Gen. 1:2) and the subsequent creation of Adam. As the Last Adam, Jesus now reverses the catastrophic consequences caused by the failure of the First Adam In encountering Satan, Jesus enters the lair of the enemy by divine, Spiritual initiative that sends the Evil One into a defensive retreat (Matt. 4:11). And like Adam, Jesus is tempted to "act like God" - which, if he were to do so, would negate his ability to be "one of us." No! Jesus must fight this battle in his capacity as a servant, the incarnate Son. He must be faithful to God's word - Scripture, the authority of the "it is written" (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10).
In a desert - depicting Eden deranged and inhospitable - the Last Adam , upheld by the Spirit, triumphs. In dismissing Satan ("Be gone" Matt.4:10), our Savior and Mediator passed the test.
We face this enemy, too. But we do so in union by the same Spirit with one who has conquered him.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
[Martin Luther's 'A Mighty Fortress is our God']
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