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The Devil Knows Scripture

jesus-and-the-devilJesus’ 40 days in the desert provides us one of the greatest conversations ever. We get to witness an exchange with the two most powerful forces on earth, Jesus and Satan. What are they talking about? The full discussion is listed below, but here are some interesting highlights.

To set the scene, Jesus had been fasting 40 days. Impossible you say? Talk to David Blaine – he went 44 days. Anyway, I’m pretty grumpy when I miss just one meal so we can imagine Jesus is not in the best of shape. Hence, this is a perfect time for the Devil to arrive.

So the Devil comes along and, seeing Jesus obviously famished, says, “Hey, Miracle Man, turn these stones into bread.” Jesus responds with scripture saying, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

One can imagine the Devil, thinking, “Ah scripture – okay, I can use that too.” So the Devil says, “Jump off the highest point of the temple, FOR IT IS WRITTEN, the angels will catch you.”

Again Jesus responds with scripture saying, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

At this, the Devil tries to appeal to desires for fame, prestige, and power. He makes Jesus one heck of an offer. He offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor if he would bow and worship him. Jesus responds with a command and again quotes scripture saying, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

What this conversation shows us, among many things, is that we misunderstand and misinterpret scripture because our hearts are not in the right place. Christians tend to pluck passages from the Bible with disastrous results. They miss the larger framework from which they are to operate. This is exactly what the Devil did. Sure he knows scripture. He can cite it chapter and verse. But the Devil is interested in what he wants – not what God wants.

In short, we forget who we are to bow down to and serve: God – the creator of the universe. Miss this. Miss everything.

Thanks for reading,
~ Ted Olson

 Jesus Tested In The Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it 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.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

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Comments

  1. Jonathan says:

    So if the battle is with principalities powers rulers of darkness of this age against spiritual hosts demons of wickedness in the heavenly places.
    Why did God cast the devil down and put Adam and Eve in harms way if they are children of God made in his image. Why give sinful wicked demons access and dominion to Innocent Girl and Boy

    • Ted Olson says:

      Hi Jonathan – thanks so much for your thoughts. Tell me more… Did God put Adam & Eve in harms way, or did they choose to “go it alone,” deciding good and evil for themselves? In other words, they said, “The heck with what God says, let’s do what WE want.” What they should have done, having been given dominion (care of the garden and rule over all living things), is boot the snake out. Instead they grasped for power – they wanted autonomy, not God’s rule – and all hell broke loose. They chose harms way, but God, in His love for us, has been chasing after us ever since (think of the father running out to the prodigal son). God has provided a way back home – the Lord Jesus Christ – who paid the price for our rebellion, (God in the flesh) sacrificing himself so we can live. Great question…tell me more…

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