The Tempted Stone

By Michael and Dolly Makary (adapted from “The Lord Is My Rock,” Rivers of Waters Literature Ministry)

The Lord Jesus Christ was often tempted, and that by many different people: scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers and others. Once, a lawyer asked Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” (Mt. 22:36 NKJV). Shortly before that question, a Pharisee said to the Lord, “ ‘Tell us … what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites?’ ” (vv.17-18).

The Lord Revealed When Tempted By The Devil
About three years earlier, the Lord Jesus was tempted by the Devil. After Jesus had been without food for 40 days and nights and was very hungry, the Devil challenged Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread” (4:3). What we know, however, is that the Lord Jesus is both the “Bread of Life” and the “living Stone” (Jn. 6:35; 1 Pet. 2:4). The Devil would have known this as well, for what the LORD “spoke … was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:9). Therefore the Lord answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’ ” (Mt. 4:4).

The Devil then took Jesus to the Holy City, Jerusalem, “and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone” ’ ” (v.6). However, the Devil knew very well that the Lord is the Rock: “Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock” (Isa. 44:8). The Lord Jesus is also the “Head of the corner” (Mt. 21:42 KJV), of whom is it written: “Whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (v.44 NKJV). In response to this temptation, Jesus said, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’ ” (4:7).

“Again, the Devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You fall down and worship me’ ” (vv.8-9). The Devil is the ruler of this world (Jn. 16:11), but it will soon pass away (1 Jn. 2:17). For our comfort, remember what the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). Therefore, “God … has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Phil. 2:9-10). The Lord’s response to this third temptation was: “Away with you Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve’ ” (Mt. 4:10).

The Lord Revealed As The Last Adam
The Devil had succeeded when tempting the first Adam (Gen. 3), but he had no success when tempting the last Adam, who is described as “a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor. 15:45). Of Christ, it is written: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily” (Isa. 28:16, see Mt. 21:42). The Stone is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

In Daniel 2:45 we read of Him as “the Stone … cut out of the mountain without hands, and that broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold.” This was the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzer’s dream about the kingdoms which would rule the world. The materials of the image he saw in his dream were “crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors: the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the Stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (v.35). In Revelation 19:16, we read of this Stone as having “on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

He could truly say, “All authority [power, KJV] has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18). Of Him it is written: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory … put all things under His feet” (Eph. 1:17-22). Jesus, the Stone “in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15), “is able to aid those who are tempted” (2:18).

The Lord Revealed To You
Our Lord and Savior at times in His life on earth was hungry, thirsty, poor and tired. He faced high winds and powerful waves; and He can help you in the difficult circumstances of life. He can sympathize and help, having been the One of whom it is written: “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Lk. 9:58).

Jesus rejoiced with them that rejoiced, as at the wedding at Cana in Galilee (Jn. 2:1-10); and He wept with those who wept, such as when Lazarus died (Jn. 11:32-36). He it is who gave living water to the woman of Samaria – the woman who “had five husbands” and was then with another man (Jn. 4:4-30,39-42).

The hour came as appointed by God when the Lord gave Himself as the supreme Sacrifice on the cross. It was then when He could say, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me” (Ps. 22:14). “Christ … suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).

The Lord Jesus is still calling, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28). By contrast, anyone who does not do so, whose name is “not found written in the Book of Life [will be] cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

“Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the LORD: Look to the Rock from which you were hewn, and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug” (Isa. 51:1). However, let us not be described as what we read in Deuteronomy 32:18, which says, “Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten the God who fathered you.”

May we remember the many ways in which this Rock has been revealed and the blessed love and care we enjoy through Him, who has been tested in all things. He, the tempted Stone, is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.