In Matthew 4:1-11, Christ is driven by the Spirit into the desert. In His battle with Satan, Christ is like Adam, like Israel and like David.
Like Adam, the devil confronts Him with audible temptations to doubt God’s word and eat. And like Adam the fate of humanity rests on His shoulders.
Like Israel, He is called ‘Son of God’, and goes through the waters straight into a wilderness trial. Where they caved in to temptation over 40 years, Christ would be the true Israel, resisting temptation over 40 days.
Like David, He’s just been anointed and now faces a giant, man-to-man, whose 40 days of taunts reproach the God of Heaven. And like David, Christ’s victory would mean victory for His people.
Adam failed. Israel failed. But Christ, the anointed King goes to battle for His people. He steps up as Adam – the True Man. As the Son of God – the True Israel. As David – our Spirit-filled Champion. And through apparent weakness He slays the giant who has dismayed and defeated us at every turn. His triumph is our triumph.
Christ’s temptations are not in Scripture to model for us a three point primer in spiritual warfare! They narrate for us the actual victory of our Anointed Champion. This is not Jesus your Example. Not primarily. This is Jesus who has taken your humanity to Himself, who has become Himself the true people of God and who has waged war on our behalf.
If you only see ‘Jesus our Example’ you lose the gospel and put yourself at centre stage. If you see ‘Jesus our Champion’ you get the example thrown in. But fundamentally your eyes are taken from yourself and fixed where they should be:
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see HIM there
Who made an end of all my sin