In the Gospel of St. Matthew 4: 1-11, the evangelist tells a beautiful story of how our Lord Jesus can help us fight the devil and his temptations, especially during Great Lent. Our Lord had just been baptized and the revelation of the Trinity had occurred. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. Here the wilderness can represent the world which is full of various evils and under the devil’s sway. Our Lord shows us 3 main ways to fight the devil. The first is that he fasted for forty days and forty nights. This helps strengthen our spirit when the body is broken and allows us to fight against temptations, and we remember our Lord’s sufferings. The second way is by thoroughly knowing the Bible, which is the word of our Lord God Jesus Christ. The devil has lived a very long time and knows the Bible very well and tries to use verses to trick us.
First, the devil tries to make our Lord fall by the hunger. He calls into question if Lord Jesus is indeed the Son of God by saying “If You are the Son of
God, command that these stones become bread.” But the Lord quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 with “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” This is to say that our Lord shares one will with the Father and will not give in to Satan’s taunts. At the second temptation, the Lord says “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” This is showing that we should not seek temptations or trials by themselves. God allows tribulations to occur to show His Power or to test us so that in overcoming, we are made stronger in our faith. Similarly, one of the saints said "None shall be crowned except the one who conquers, and none shall conquer except the one who fights." In the third temptation, the devil offers all the kingdoms of the world and says “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Our Lord rebukes the devil and says “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” This refers to Deuteronomy 6: 12-13 when Moses is speaking about God’s command not to serve false idols when the Israelites have eaten and are full. The Lord is reiterating how we are to glorify and worship only God.
The third way the Lord displayed how to fight the devil was by His persistence. The devil tried to make Him fall three times in succession but failed. In this Great Lent especially, we should strive to follow the Lord’s example. First, to arm ourselves against the devil and sin, we must fast and pray to strengthen our Spirit so we can draw closer to our Lord. Second, we must know our Bible well and inscribe in our heart the verses that comfort and strengthen us in times of temptation. Third we must persist.
Author: Jeffrey Wang