The temptations Christ faced during His earthly ministry revealed the seriousness of the controversy over obedience and surrender to God's will. In meeting those temptations, which prepared Him to be "a merciful and faithful High Priest" Heb 2:17, He met in single combat a deadly foe. In the wilderness after Christ fasted forty days, Satan tempted Him to change stones to bread to prove He really was the Son of God Mat 4:3. As Satan had tempted Eve to doubt God's word in Eden, so now he tried to cause Christ to doubt the validity of what God had said at His baptism: "'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'" Mat 3:17. Had Christ taken matters into His own hands, creating bread out of stones to prove His divine sonship, He would have, like Eve, revealed a lack of trust in God. His mission would have ended in failure.
But Christ's highest priority was to live by His Father's word. In spite of His great hunger, He answered Satan's temptation with "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God'" Mat 4:4.
In another attempt to defeat Christ, Satan gave Him a panoramic view of the kingdoms of the world, promising, "'All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me'" Mat 4:9. He implied that by doing so Christ could regain the world thus completing His mission without enduring the agony of Calvary. Without a moment's hesitation, and in absolute loyalty to God, Jesus commanded, "'Away with you, Satan!'" Then, using Scripture, the most effective weapon in the great controversy, He said, "'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve'" Mat 4:10. His words ended the battle. Though retaining His total dependence on the Father, Christ had defeated Satan.
The Most Crucial Question.
When Christ asked, "'Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?'" the disciples replied, "'Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets'" Mat 16:13-14. In other words, most of His contemporaries considered Him as a mere man. Scripture continues the account: Jesus asked His twelve, "'But who do you say that I am?'"
And Simon Peter answered and said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'"
Jesus answered and said to him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven'" Mat 16:15-17.
Today everyone faces the same question Christ asked His disciples. One's answer to this life-and-death question depends on one's faith in the testimony of God's Word.
Excerpts from the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe. The official publication explaining the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church. Chapter 8 – Great Controversy. Sub topics: The Cosmic Issue and Controversy About Truth as It Is in Jesus respectively. All emphassis supplied.