The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” (Luke 4:3, ESV)
God had publicly declared Jesus’ sonship at his baptism, and it is the manifest pattern of the Enemy to immediately question what God has said. He did it to Eve; he did it to the unnamed prophet; he did it to Jesus. God’s plans are dynamic, strategic, multifaceted. Paul calls God’s wisdom manifold. But Satan’s traps are plain, repetitive, and thinly veiled. “We are not ignorant of his schemes.” (2 Cor. 2:11)
Satan does not allow the saint time to meditate on the truth of God’s word, to turn it over on the tongue, to taste it and see that God is good. He comes while the word is yet fresh and seeks to snatch it away, before it bears fruit. In his serpentine way he tries to take God’s exclamations marks and curl them into question marks.
He does not question Jesus’ mission as Messiah. He does not say “if you are the Son of Man”—testing his relationship to us. He does not say “if you are the seed of the woman.” Satan tests Jesus’ relationship to God. In Greek, he focuses on the word “son.” He strikes where it hurts.
And our identity is not found in our mission or in our work. It is not found in our strength or even in our testimony. Our identity is in our relationship to God as children, and God’s relationship to us as Father.
When we try to maintain our identity but forget our sonship, it is like gripping the husk and tossing the grain. Our place as children of God is the one identity that supersedes all others in our lives.
The devil challenges Jesus to prove himself by spiritual power. Ironically, Jesus will prove that he is the Son by denying the devil.
He does not need to make stones bread. Jesus has food that the devil knows nothing about. He has the Father’s will.
When anyone questions our identity in Christ, we can ignore their requests; the Father has stated our identity for us, and that is enough.
Father, thank you that I know who I am. Thank you that no one can cast doubt on what you have said.