Twice the LORD told Moses, prior to his being sent to Pharaoh, that the king of Egypt wouldn’t let the Israelites go “unless a mighty hand” compelled him.[1] And, as God foretold, we’ve seen that the first time that the LORD had Moses and Aaron request of Pharaoh that he let his people go that they might worship him, it didn’t go well.[2] Pharaoh not only refused to let the Israelites go, but also increased their work.

Twice, too, the LORD enabled first Moses and then Aaron to turn Moses’ staff into a snake.[3] The purpose in performing this miracle was that the Israelites might “believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” had appeared to Moses.[4] This worked for, as we’ve seen, when Aaron “performed the signs before the people,… 31 they believed.”[5] However, this morning we’ll see that in the case of Pharaoh, it didn’t work for his disbelief remained. His basic attitude towards the LORD continued to be, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”[6] Nothing less than the plagues inaugurated by the LORD’s mighty hand would, in due course, cause him to change his mind.

Beginning with verse 8 of Exodus 7, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘When Pharaoh says to you, “Perform a miracle,” then say to Aaron, “Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,” and it will become a snake.”’ As stated in verse 10, Moses and Aaron obeyed as they “went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.” As was true for the elders of Israel, witnessing this miracle presented Pharaoh with an opportunity to respond to the LORD in faith. But unlike Moses, Aaron, and the elders of Israel, Pharaoh didn’t believe. Instead, as stated beginning with verse 11, he “then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12 Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake.” Because Pharaoh’s magicians were able to imitate Aaron’s miracle, Pharaoh didn’t believe. As stated in verse 13, his “heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.” And this despite the fact, as stated at the end of verse 12, that “Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” In spite of the supremacy of Aaron’s staff over those of the magicians, Pharaoh’s heart became hard, just as the LORD had declared. As one commentator observes, this hardening occurs “not by implanting evil in it, but by giving it over to its evil direction without restraint.”[7] In other words, Pharaoh’s heart was hardened when the LORD left it to its own fallen inclination. Consequently, as stated beginning with verse 14,

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16 Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’”

Now it’s perhaps worth pointing out that this first plague was also one of the three signs that the LORD initially presented Moses when he worried that the Israelites wouldn’t believe him. As already noted, first the LORD had Moses throw his staff on the ground that it might become a snake as he then changed the snake back into a staff; next he told Moses to place his hand in his cloak and it became leprous—and, again, the LORD then restored it;[8] but last, God told Moses about a third sign he would be able to do, telling him, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. But if they do not believe these two signs or listen to you, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the river will become blood on the ground.”[9] So two of the three signs that Moses performed that the elders of the Israelites might believe were now performed before Pharaoh. Tragically, it would take far more than these two signs before he finally believed.

Concerning this miracle with “blood” being “everywhere in Egypt,” one scholar makes two important observations. First, “In Hebrew the word [used here for “blood”] never denotes its red color, but always blood as a substance. [Therefore] [t]he red clay that comes down at the time of flooding from the Ethiopian highlands (coloring the Nile water) is not in view.”[10] This is significant to note for some have sought to dismiss the miraculous nature of this (and other) plagues by stating that they were natural—not supernatural—occurrences. Yet the text makes clear that both in timing and substance, “the waters of Egypt” did indeed turn into blood. Second, “All the natural waters of Egypt were involved, including the arms of the Nile, the irrigation canals, and the pools formed by river flooding. The Nile River, the source of Egypt’s agricultural life, was revered as a god. Beginning with this plague the Lord’s superiority over the Egyptian pantheon of gods is demonstrated.”[11]

A third point worth noting is that Pharoah received plenty of warning from the LORD concerning the consequences of his not heeding him. He was warned not only now but also when Moses and Aaron first approached him, asking him to let the Israelites go in order that they might go and worship the LORD. At that time, they warned Pharaoh saying, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”[12] As we’ll see, though some of the forthcoming plagues affected both the Israelites and the Egyptians, others primarily fell upon Pharaoh’s people only.

Well, as stated in verses 20–21, “20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.” Moses, who as an infant had been drawn from that very Nile River by one Pharaoh’s daughter,[13] now had Aaron, in obedience to the LORD, change the mighty Nile’s water into blood in order that this later Pharaoh might believe and let the Israelites go to worship the LORD. And whereas blood typically signifies life, this plague caused life-sustaining water to be turned into life-killing blood with the result that yet another source of life, the fish in the Nile, also died. The god of the Nile was no match for the LORD who is God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Maker of heaven and earth and all that is in them.

Next, as occurred with the miracle of the staff being turned into a snake, this first plague was similarly imitated by the Egyptian magicians—and, consequently, Pharaoh’s heart yet again became hard. Whatever opening to faith in the LORD witnessing this miracle may have had upon him initially, when his magicians were able to replicate it, that opening was slammed shut. As stated in verses 22–23, “22 But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23 Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart.” Pharaoh didn’t take “even this to heart.” His heart didn’t soften but remained hard. Thus, for a second time, the use of magic resulted in disbelief in the LORD. Consequently, in order to survive, verse 24, “…all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.”

Well, as last week’s passage led me to consider the mysterious relationship that exists between God hardening someone’s heart and individuals hardening their own heart, this week’s passage led me to consider the relationship that exists between miracles, magic, and sorcery for on the surface they seem similar but in actuality their purpose and ends are quite different. And, as we’ll continue to see a lot of heart-hardening taking place throughout these miraculous plagues, so we’ll continue to see the role that the Egyptian magician and sorcerers play in Pharaoh’s disbelief.

In considering miracles, magic, and sorcery, I began by turning, as I often do, to my computer desktop dictionary and looking up the relevant definition for these three words. Accordingly,

a miracle is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency;”

magic is “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces;”

sorcery is “the use of magic, especially black magic.” And while I was at it,

black magic is “magic involving the supposed invocation of evil spirits for evil purposes.”

These definitions helped me better understand why magic and sorcery are condemned throughout Scripture. As early as the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of Torah, God’s Law, God’s people are told:

When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. 13 You must be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.[14]

The Book of Revelation, in its triumphal presentation of Jesus Christ’s victory at the end of the ages, similarly portrays him as declaring,

It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.[15]

That Scripture condemns the magic arts, among other acts of unholy disobedience to God, isn’t surprising. Now in the past, I’ve understood that the reason that followers of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, of God who came in the Person of Jesus Christ, are to stay away from the magic arts, is because God made us to always walk by faith in him and him alone, looking to no other for counsel or advice. To turn to divination—or sorcery—or witchcraft—or omens—or spells—or mediums—or spiritists—or those who consult the dead is to try and make an end-run around trusting God for our daily bread; is to make an end-run around trusting God for our daily needs. It’s to seek answers from imposters posing to be god-like in their claim to knowledge and power. It’s a way for us to try and “be like God” in our knowledge of good and evil; in defining for ourselves what is “good” or “evil” rather than accepting and bowing down to God’s definition of “good” and “evil.” Yet just as trying to “be like God” in this manner ended catastrophically for Adam and Eve, our first parents, when they disobeyed God and chose, instead, to listen to Satan, that ancient serpent, in the Garden,[16] so will any attempt to “be like God” on Satan’s terms end in catastrophe for us. For Satan’s primary goal, like a roaring lion, is to destroy those who are made in God’s image[17] and he gleefully will use those who practice sorcery, witchcraft, and magic in order to do so.

Now all of these are reason enough for believers to remain as far away from these evil practices as possible, knowing their true source and how they can be harmed by them. But in considering the role that the sorcerers and magicians play in the miracles and plagues brought by the LORD, I realized that there exists yet another equally egregious reason for believers to stay away from such practices, namely, because these practices can keep people from believing in El-Shaddai, God Almighty, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, by luring them to believe instead in Satan and his minions, destructive unholy pretenders to God’s holy throne.

In our New Testament account from Acts 8 we find a specific example of a sorcerer and magician. Verse 9 introduces him stating, “Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10 and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, ‘This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.’ 11 They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery.” By his sorcery, Simon gained fame; by his sorcery, people associated him with God; by his sorcery, he gained followers. But Simon wasn’t God nor was he “the Great Power of God” people believed him to be. No, Simon was an imposter, a pretender to God’s throne. And as was the case with Pharaoh’s magicians and sorcerers, Simon’s sorcery was keeping others from believing in the true God, Jesus Christ, as they chose to believe and follow Simon instead.

However, the fact that he was a fraud was exposed by Philip, a follower of Jesus Christ, who, unlike Simon, spoke the truth of God rather than the lies of Satan. As stated in verse 12, “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” By dazzling people with his power, Simon was leading them on the road to hell; by proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom, Philip was showing people the way to heaven.

Now what’s tragic in all of this is that Simon seemingly got caught up in the excitement as all his followers left him in order to follow Jesus for, as stated in verse 13, “13 Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.” But notice that though he “believed and was baptized,” Simon’s fascination was with “the great signs and miracles” being performed by Philip. This sense of astonishment at “the great signs and miracles he saw” would prove to be Simon’s downfall. For in what follows, it appears that Simon couldn’t shake off his lust for power. By his words, he demonstrated what was really in his heart; by his deeds he demonstrated what he really believed. As stated beginning with verse 14, “14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” These Samaritan believers who were despised by Jewish believers for having intermarried with non-Jews, were nonetheless precious in the eyes of God. Therefore, Peter and John, two of Jesus’ apostles whose authority was accepted by all, laid hands upon them that they might receive Christ’s Holy Spirit even as the first Jewish believers had when they first heard Peter’s sermon on Pentecost.[18]

But notice Simon’s heartbreaking response to this joyous occasion of the Samaritans not only believing in Christ but also, consequently, receiving Christ’s Holy Spirit: “18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money 19 and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” Though Simon was said to have believed and was baptized along with these believers, seemingly he didn’t care about receiving the Holy Spirit himself for there’s no mention of his standing before the apostles to receive such an anointing. No, all Simon continued to care about was seeking power and fame. He wanted power so badly that he offered the Apostle Peter—Peter!—money. Apparently, he viewed this giving of the Holy Spirit as some kind of magic for, as noted by one commentator, “Simon was acting in character, because magicians often exchanged for money.”[19]

And we don’t have to imagine Peter’s response to Simon’s request because it’s recorded for us in verses 20–23: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21 You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Peter didn’t mince his words, did he? For having offered money in exchange for the power to control God’s Holy Spirit, Simon was condemned for his desire was but another manifestation of his earlier practice of sorcery and boasting and desire for fame. Again, though Simon professed to believe in Christ and was even baptized, it’s evident that his repentance and baptism weren’t real. Rather than take off the old man, marked by fallen sinful behaviors like sorcery, and putting on the new man, marked by following our holy Lord, Jesus Christ, Simon didn’t repent from his sin of sorcery. Instead he lusted for the power of God apart from a genuine, loving relationship with his Son. For this reason, Peter rightly called him to repent from his captivity to sin. And though Simon replied by stating, verse 24, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me,” historically it doesn’t appear that anything changed in his life for, as one scholar notes, Simon “is frequently mentioned in ancient writings outside the Bible as the archenemy of the church and one of the leaders of the Gnostic heresy. Gnosticism (named from the Greek word gnosis, meaning ‘knowledge’) taught that a person gained salvation not by the merit of Christ’s death for sinners, but by special knowledge about God.”[20]

These accounts from Exodus 7 and Acts 8 help us better understand why magic and sorcery are condemned in Scripture for these practices seek to influence the course of events not by prayer or by turning to God but by using supernatural forces whose source is demonic. In doing so, these practices seek to usurp the province that rightly belongs to God and God alone. Whereas miracles occur in order that people might come to faith in God, magic and sorcery lead people away from faith in God as they instead turn people’s eyes to the promise of power. Yet, as we noted last week in the passage from Ephesians, we were created to be like God, not by exerting power over nature and the future but by relying upon and imitating Christ in true righteousness and holiness.[21] As the Apostle Paul exhorts, Christians are to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” in our relationships with one other.[22] For Jesus, despite being God, “did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”[23]

Conversely, magic and sorcery are pretenders to God’s knowledge and power. They, like Satan from whom they derive their power, are disguised as light in order to keep people away from faith in Christ even as “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.”[24] Consider that the promise of power was how Satan sought to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, promising him:

the power to turn stones into bread;[25]

the power to jump from the highest point of the temple in order that he might be delivered by angels;[26]

and, finally, power over all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would but bow down and worship the Devil.[27]

Jesus, of course, withstood these very real temptations for he understood that the life of faith is one of obedience to and dependence upon our Father in heaven, not one of power over nature and the future. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, let us ever remember that:

Miracles occur that we might respond by believing in God and giving him all the power and glory; magic occurs that we might give glory to the magician and obtain his or her power;

Miracles create awe and humility; magic creates a lust for more displays of power;

Miracles occur that our hearts might be softened and made responsive to God; when magic occurs our hearts can be hardened and unresponsive to God;

Miracles occur by the power of our heavenly Father who loves us and seeks to heal and save us; magic occurs by the power of Satan who hates both us and the God in whose image we’ve been made. Satan seeks to destroy us and all that is pure and good;

Miracles occur that we might turn to the path of eternal life in heaven; magic occurs that we might turn to the path of eternal death in hell;

Dear ones and precious before our loving Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, this communion Sunday, let us humbly embrace the fact that the greatest miracle God works in us is that of taking away our sin by placing it upon his Son who suffered and died in our place that we might have eternal life. For in Christ alone can we receive the miracle of taking away a fallen self that is made in the image of the disobedient first Adam and recreating this old self into a new self that, by the work of the Holy Spirit and our obedience to him, is being recreated into the image of the obedient last Adam, Jesus Christ.

Let us, therefore, not seek magic and sorcery, evil imposters whose power and lies derive from Satan, the father of lies, but let us now and always seek our gracious and heavenly Father and his Kingdom, by the loving sacrifice of his kind and merciful Son, Jesus Christ, that we might remain in him forever by the Holy Spirit, the Wonderful Counselor and Advocate he so graciously bestows upon all who believe and receive him.

Let us pray.

[1] Exodus 3:19–20: 19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.; Exodus 6:1: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

[2] Exodus 5:1–2: Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’” Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

[3] Exodus 4:1–4, 29–31a: 1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?” Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand…. 29 Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, 30 and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, 31 and they believed.

[4] Exodus 4:5.

[5] Exodus 4:30b–31a. See sermon preached on August 8, 2021, Have Thine Own Way, LORD, on Exodus 4:18–31.

[6] Exodus 6:1b.

[7] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 7:3. In support of this point, it references Romans 1:24, 26, 28: 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another…. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones…. 28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

[8] Exodus 4:6–7: Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow. “Now put it back into your cloak,” he said. So Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored, like the rest of his flesh.

[9] Exodus 4:8–9.

[10] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 7:17. Emphases added.

[11] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Exodus 7:19. The Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Exodus 7:20 similarly observes, “Egypt’s dependence on the life-sustaining waters of the Nile led to its deification as the god Hapi.”

[12] Exodus 5:3. Emphasis added.

[13] Exodus 2:5–6:Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

[14] Deuteronomy 18:9–14.

[15] Revelation 21:6–8. See also Revelation 22:12–15: 12 Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

[16] Genesis 3:4–5, 16–19:“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil….”16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. 18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

[17] 1 Peter 5:8–9: 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

[18] As stated at the end of Peter’s sermon recorded in Acts 2, verses 37–38 state, “37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

[19] ESV Study Bible note on Acts 8:18.

[20] In its entirety, the Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Acts 8:9 states: “Simon Magus the sorcerer is frequently mentioned in ancient writings outside the Bible as the archenemy of the church and one of the leaders of the Gnostic heresy. Gnosticism (named from the Greek word gnosis, meaning ‘knowledge’) taught that a person gained salvation not by the merit of Christ’s death for sinners, but by special knowledge about God. Justin Martyr (died c. A.D. 165), himself a Samaritan, says that almost all the Samaritans considered Simon the highest god (the ‘power of God,’ v. 10). Irenaeus (died c. A.D. 180), who wrote extensively against the Gnostics, regards Simon as one of the sources of their heresies. Although the Simon of v. 9 could be another Simon, the church fathers equate the two, and the context 8:9–11 (his character and the Samaritans’ attitude about him) certainly points to the two as the same person.”

[21] Ephesians 4:23–24: 22 You were taught…23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

[22] Philippians 2:5.

[23] Philippians 2:6–8.

[24] 2 Corinthians 11:14: And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.

[25] Matthew 4:1–3: 1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”; Luke 4:3: The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”

[26] Matthew 4:5–6 (quoting Psalm 91:11–12): Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”; Luke 4:9–11:The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

[27] Matthew 4:8–9:Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”; Luke 4:5–7:The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”