Matthew 4:1 has profound significance for spiritual warfare: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. This is the first mention of Satan in the New Testament. We’re introduced to the Evil One by Matthew’s account of Christ confronting the devil. And how did Matthew come by this information? He wasn’t there. It could only have been by the Lord relating to his disciples what happened. Imagine a cool evening by a fire on the shores of Galilee with Jesus personally describing how he dealt with the Adversary. As kids say today: “AWESOME!”
Jesus wasn’t telling them a parable. It wasn’t an allegory. It really happened, just like Jesus said it happened. You’ve probably heard many sermons about this event, so I won’t restate in detail the obvious: the devil tempted Jesus thrice and our Savior answered each chicanery with a statement from Scripture. He showed us that the way to deal with temptation is to stand on God’s word. Now, I want to take you a little deeper into this account.
First, Matthew says Jesus was “led up by the Spirit.” That’s right; the Holy Spirit led Jesus straight to an encounter with the devil. If we too are led by the Spirit we shall also go head-to-head with Satan. Deliverance and exorcism are Spirit-driven, biblical compulsions to face down the devil. If you haven’t faced the devil lately maybe you aren’t letting the Spirit lead you. Second, Christ was “tempted,” that means “tested.” All deliverance ministry is a contest of our will being exerted against Satan’s purposes. Those unwilling to be “tested” in this way are not walking fully in the footsteps of Jesus. Finally, though we may not meet up with the Serpent, that Dragon, himself, we certainly may meet those called by his demonic names. I have had countless encounters with demons going by designations such as Satan, Beelzebub, and even Lucifer. Like a military rank, they have earned the right bear that name in Hell’s hierarchy; and as Jesus did, we have overcome by the power of His Word and the presence of His Spirit.