The Power of a Question: Conversations With Satan – Jesus and Satan
Diving right in, I’m doing a 3-week series on how through the power of questions, Satan seeks to get us off track by thwarting our thinking that God isn’t Who He says He is. God is a question asker, and looking at conversations that Jesus had in the Gospels, He too is a question asker. Jesus asks 307 questions in the Gospels, He is asked 183 questions and He only answers 3 questions. Questions get people thinking and they get to the heart of the matter, and Jesus is always trying to get to people’s hearts.
Satan asked questions because he too knows the power of questions, and he continues to do this today to you and me. When we’re caught in temptation, trying to justify if what we want to do is right or wrong- that is him planting questions in our minds to question making a righteous decision or unrighteous decision.
Last week we saw how in a public display in front of heavenly beings, the account between God and Job. Essentially, the two are being exposed- their natures and characters are being exposed and that both in a way are put on trial. God asked Satan key questions and Satan asked God questions. And we see how the trail of Job justifies God and Jesus’ dealing with Satan’s rebellion, the truth of the law, and exposes the nature of sin.
And the week before we saw that with one powerful question to Eve, Satan was able to deeply affect God’s purposes for his first priest/king (Adam); for the people of God (Eve); and for their home the tabernacle/temple, where they worshiped God (Eden).
I don’t want you to forget Satan’s story so I’m going to briefly remind you of this spirit before he fell from Heaven. Ezekiel 28 tells us that Lucifer, which means “morning star” was the “anointed cherub” and had a high position in Heaven. Cherubim, are a type of angel and it is their and Lucifer’s responsibility to attend to God. What a privilege! He got total access to God, observing HIM, getting to know HIS character and personality. Ezekiel also tells us that Lucifer was perfect, the wisest of all God’s creatures, beautiful beyond description, and, he was the chief worship leader in heaven (see Ez. 28: 12-13). His beauty was compared to gemstones ( ). But all of that came to a head when he decided being a cherub wasn’t so cool, and he wanted to be God. He wasn’t content being a singer and leading the music, he wasn’t content being extremely beautiful, and he wasn’t content tending to the throne of God.
Jesus and Satan
This week we’re looking at Jesus’ temptation by Satan, taken from Luke 4: 1-13. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast for 40 days and nights, which represents the Israelites who roamed the wilderness for 40 years. Three times Satan is essentially trying to get Jesus to follow him, to worship him. This should tell us something, heavenly beings have free will to leave and disobey God, like us. Lucifer chose rebellion and he was trying to get Jesus to choose rebellion, as he tries to get you and me to choose rebellion.
But in the discourse between God and Satan gets a little confrontational as both sides are using Scripture and tough language. But Jesus responds to every temptation by quoting the lessons taught through the history of Old Testament Israel.
Satan catches Jesus at a time when He is vulnerable and starving. In verse 4 of Luke 4, Satan is trying to get Jesus to prove He is the Son of God. It’s a mockery of the truth but Jesus hits with Deuteronomy 8:3. This is for you and me too, we can’t live by what fills our stomachs or our lives, but only by God’s provision for our lives. We can only truly live when we trust Him.
In verse 6, Satan states that he has earthly power. Paul states in Ephesians 2 that Satan is the “Prince of the Power of the Air.” A lot of people have made deals with the devil for earthly riches, power and fame and this is what Satan wanted Jesus to do, to make a deal with him for earthly power. Satan wants Jesus to bow down and worship him. But Jesus tells Satan to get behind him and quotes Deuteronomy 6:13. We are to worship God only and serve Him only.
By this temptation Jesus is clearly a man with a sound mind and a man of faith. Satan takes Jesus to Jerusalem and sets Him on the pinnacle of the temple and tells Jesus to jump off if he’s truly the Son of God. He’s wanting Jesus to take a short cut to dominion, something that already belongs to Jesus. This evil, power-hungry spirit, Satan is asking Jesus to compromise and submit to him, which would usher in a political Messiahship (the kind Judas was looking for) that would bring all kinds of evil into the world- aggressive wars and higher crimes. Here Satan is again trying to throw a monkey wrench into God’s plan for His creation. Always trying to hurt God, Satan was trying to use Jesus, like he did Eve to bring more disaster in the order of God’s plan for humanity.
But there’s something for us to learn in Jesus’ Conversation with Satan. We see in Jesus unyielding faith and it’s a reminder for us too, to have unyielding faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us in chapter 2 verse 18 that Jesus knew temptation. You and I can never say God doesn’t know what we’re going through. If you’ve got an addiction or bad habit, or someone is twisting your arm to do wrong, or whatever Jesus too knew temptation. And his temptation, in human hunger was a big deal. If he had given into Satan for any of the 3 temptations, it would have caused painful living for humanity.
Secondly, notice how Jesus didn’t use emotion with Satan. You cannot use emotion with the devil. When you’ve got an evil thought, you gotta speak Scripture to it. Jesus did not use emotion or empathy with a spirit that that has no heart. Don’t try and reason with the devil or evil people, capture all thoughts, speak Scripture and walk away.
God is real and Satan is real. We must be aware of the pulls of evil in the world. We must be unyielding in our faith in God, we must be in the Word reading and knowing Who God is, we must also read it to hear from God, and we must be aware of everything trying wiggle its way into our lives.