Matthew 4.1-3 cont.
1 Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit, to be tempted by the devil.
2 And afterwards, having fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.
3 And the tempter, approaching said to Him: “If You are the Son of God tell to these stones to become loaves of bread.”
With power and authority there comes responsibility.
In 1887 Lord Acton wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton (Bishop of Peterborough 1881-1896) these words:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
It is a saying that we may be familiar with, and we know that it can be true. Many of the dictators of history may have done beneficial things for their citizens, but their power completely corrupted them.
The quote above goes on to say:
“Great men are almost always bad men.”
The devil knows this, and he also knew that Jesus was invested with the power and authority of Heaven. There was nothing that was impossible for Him. The devil knew that He who created all things could easily have turned stones into bread. We know that at the commencement of His ministry Jesus turned water into wine – John chapter 2.
However, for Jesus to have done what the devil was tempting Him to do would have been to misuse His power and authority. It would have been to use it for His own personal and selfish ends.
Jesus shows His true greatness by resisting the temptation to use His power for personal gain.
It may not have seemed a particularly bad thing to do, after all eating would have given Him strength. However, giving in to this temptation would have been the first step on the road to doing things according to the devils way; it would have been the first step away from obeying His Father’s way.
Jesus knew that the power and the authority that He had, came with the responsibility to ‘fulfil all righteousness’.
The same is true for us. Everyone of us has been given power in some way or another.
The word of God tells us:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you – Acts 1.8 (NLT).
This is the power to be Jesus in this fallen world, and it comes with the responsibility to fulfil all righteousness. Such power must never be used for our own selfish ends.