Jesus repels Satan’s efforts to tempt him, gathers his first disciples, turns water into wine at Cana, and overturns the tables at the Temple: Mark 1:12–13; Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–15; John 1:19–51; Mark 1:16–20; Matthew 4:18–22; Luke 5:1–11; John 2
After 40 days and nights of fasting Jesus was, not surprisingly, very hungry. Who wouldn’t be? Satan saw his opportunity and went for it.
Satan’s first attempt was to appeal to ordinary hunger and a bit of pride, challenging Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus’ answer came straight out of the second reading of the Law, at the end of the 40 years of Israel’s desert wanderings. The original context was explaining to the people that God fed them manna so they would know that:
Matthew 4:4 and Deuteronomy 8:3People do not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
The second attempt aimed to have Jesus bow down to him. Naturally Jesus’ answered with the obvious, from the reading of the Law:
Matthew 4:8 and Deuteronomy 6:13You must worship the Lord your God
and serve only him.
(More than a few have noticed that Jesus didn’t challenge Satan’s claim to the world.)
The third and final attempt was the most direct challenge of all, and it even quoted scripture back in an effort to outwit Jesus. Jesus’ answer, again, came straight out of the same part of scripture:
Matthew 4:7 and Deuteronomy 6:16The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.
The broader context for that scripture would indeed preclude someone doing something wrong, like throwing themselves off a building:
Deuteronomy 6:18 You must not test the Lord your God as you did when you complained at Massah. You must diligently obey the commands of the Lord your God—all the laws and decrees he has given you. Do what is right and good in the Lord’s sight, so all will go well with you.