7609 - First Temptation

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Our struggles with temptation are not easy, but Jesus has demonstrated how we ought to stand firm.

We are studying the book of Luke and are now in Chapter Four which tells us about the devil’s temptations of Jesus early in His ministry.

Today, let’s to focus upon the first in this series of three testings.

At this early point in the public ministry of Jesus, God arranged for Jesus to demonstrate to a sinful, hurting world, as well as to Satan that although Jesus was fully human and was subject to human temptations just like all of us.

Equally important was that Jesus – the Son of Man – was able to demonstrate to all men that God had a plan and had provided resources so that men and women could victoriously stand against the devil while living here on earth. You see, God knew that there would be spiritual battles, and He did not leave us helpless.

Although Satan is a fallen archangel and now uses his power with evil intent, he is inferior to omnipotent God.

Furthermore, 1 John (4:4) tells us that the children of God have overcome the evil spirits, because the Lord Jesus Christ indwells believers and He is greater than any enemy, even the devil. Listen to Luke 4:1-4:

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone.' "

In this scene we see ready proof of the superiority of Jesus to the tempter devil Jesus was limiting Himself in this warfare to use only the tools and resources which are available to His present brothers and sisters who are called Christians. Jesus placed full dependence upon the Father and the Holy Spirit as He rebuffed the devil. Through this battle plan He demonstrated to Christians how to stand in times of temptation.

Another truth is that the temptation is not sin. The Holy Spirit led Jesus into this divine encounter, so the encounter is not sin. Temptations lead to sin when by our own evil desires we are enticed and dragged (James 1:13-15) away from goodness and we enter into disobedience and evil. That’s sin. But as temptations came to Jesus, likewise they will surely come to each of us. We should expect to be tested for through victorious battles our character is developed.

Therefore, we profit by studying the temptation of Jesus; and we see how He overcame the adversary.

Hunger was very real to Jesus at the end of this forty day fast. Notice the temptation is one that often comes to us. How many times have we felt that it was up to us to solve our problems. Our society and culture teach us this attitude.

However that was not the attitude of Jesus. He was dependent upon the Father to provide food. The greater issue in this battle is found in the devil’s words: “If you are the Son of God.” The devil challenged the authority and status of Jesus.

The devil knew Jesus was the divine Son of God. This fact did not need proof. But if he could arouse pride within Jesus, he would destroy the character of Jesus and thwart the divine purpose of becoming the atoning sacrifice for sin. You see, only a sinless sacrifice could atone; so if Jesus would evidence pride then the devil would have been the big winner.

The second allure was an appeal to the Lord’s hungry flesh. You’re hungry! Do something about it.

It is important to notice how Jesus skewered the devil. He simply quoted Deuteronomy (8:3), “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (cp Mt.4:4)

The battle was won. The Word of God was hidden in the heart of Jesus to keep Him from sin. (Ps.119:11), and he used it effectively.