After Jesus was baptized by John in Matthew 3, he was led by the Spirit into the desert and fasted forty days and nights. At this point of human vulnerability, Jesus was hungry, Satan cames to tempt him.
Prove your authority over creation as the Son of God, he said, and turn these stones to bread. I can hear Jesus’ stomach grumble at the mention of bread. (If you have ever fasted, you too know the sensation of nausea that accompanies the grumble.) But, Jesus’ confidence does not come from his understanding of who he is, but in whom he trusts. He replied with God’s words, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 NIV, referencing Deuteronomy 8:3)
Seemingly unthwarted, Satan took Jesus to a high point above the Holy City. Prove your authority over the angels as the Son of God, he taunted. Throw yourself down and command them to lift you up without a scratch. (I wonder why Satan thinks Jesus needs prove himself to anyone, let alone to one who knows God firsthand.) Nevertheless, Jesus responded with the words of his Father again. “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7 NIV, ref. Deut. 6:16)
Finally, Satan saw Jesus’ devotion to the Father and appeared to covet this for himself. Taking Jesus to a mountaintop, displaying the splendor of the kingdoms of the world Satan tried to make a deal. I will give you all of this if you worship me. Jesus is done with him. “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” (Matthew 4:10 NIV, ref. Deut. 6:13). At this, Satan flees. And ironically, God sent his angels to attend his Son.
Jesus knew the power of God’s word, because he was the manifestation of God’s word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. John 1: 1, 4 NIV
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV
Jesus is the gift of Christmas.