While Jesus was newly declared to be God's son and unproven in his ministry, he was not unprepared for the wily deceptions of the evil one. "It is written..." in each encounter, Jesus draws upon his knowledge of Scripture and is guided by the text's grounded wisdom.
"One does not live by bread alone..." Humans live by bread, yes, but there is more: purpose, family, friends, forgiveness, serving the neighbor, communion with God!
"Do not put the Lord your God to the test." God is able and powerful, yes, but it is not our place to order God around our sense of promoting his name—and ours!
"Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him." Political power, rightly and justly exercised, yes, but it is not life's primary authority. Ultimate allegiance and adoration rightly and justly belong to God!
Gracious God, thank you for the Bible and my freedom and opportunities to read and study your Word, whether alone or with others. Give me the curiosity, openness and spirit to read it humbly, rightly and prayerfully.
Matthew 4:1-11 (NRSV)
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.
3 The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
4 But he answered, "It is written, "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple,
6 saying to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, "He will command his angels concerning you,' and "On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.' "
7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;
9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me."
10 Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.' "
11 Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.