7612 - Third Temptation

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Temptation was something that even Jesus experienced.

In our study through the Gospel of Luke we have progressed to Luke 4 where we are told the devil tempted Jesus for forty days. Scripture then gives us three examples of the devil’s temptation.

We have already studied the first two. To review: The first came when Jesus was hungry. In a deceitful way the devil challenged Jesus to prove He was the Son of God by creating bread from a stone.

Satan’s question regarding the deity and position as God’s Son sought to drive Jesus to show pride and prove this fact. They both knew Jesus was the Son of God, but Satan was prodding Jesus to pridefully prove this fact. If Jesus had become prideful that would have been sin, and the sin would have destroyed Jesus as well as God’s plan of redemption for mankind. Jesus calmly rebuked the devil and continued to look to His Father to provide His every need.

Temptation two was a brazen invitation for Jesus to join Satan’s rebellious campaign against Father God.

True to form, the devil deceitfully offered Jesus a short cut to power over kingdoms on earth. This would be given to Jesus by the devil if Jesus would worship him. That’s an invitation for Jesus to become a part of his evil, rebellious forces, to turn against Father God. Again Jesus stood firm in the power of God and rebuked the devil.

Today we examine the third temptation of this series. Listen to Luke 4:9-12:

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. For it is written: "`He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "

Jesus answered, "It says: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "

The evil inherent in this passage is in tempting Jesus to presume upon the Father’s promises. Satan quoted from Psalm 91. This Psalm promises God’s protection for those who, while being in His will and available to Him, find themselves in danger. We are not to choose the time and situation in which to demand from God the fulfillment of one of His promises. There is clearly an evil test of God behind this scene.

Jesus was not beguiled. He recognized the inherent evil in the request and promptly rebuked Satan with Scripture (Deut.6:16), “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Luke 4:13 tells us, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Him until an opportune time.”

The devil never gives up in his quest to steal, kill and destroy those in God’s kingdom. He may leave for a time, as in this case; but he is always looking for an opportune time – a time when we are not alert or are distracted; but he will be back.

What have we learned from the record of these temptations of Jesus?

For one thing, we have had a review of the nature of Satan’s character. He is a liar. He is deceitful. He delights to damage or destroy those who are in the kingdom of God.

We may face the question, “What force would cause us to sell out or compromise our faith, that would be luscious enough to cause us to sin, which would interrupt and mar our relationship with our loving God?” Would we yield to sexual temptation? How about financial inducement – the devil may say, ‘I’ll make you rich if you will do my bidding.’ Some yield to fear, desire for pleasure or power or prestige.

Rest assured the devil knows our weakness and he will place temptations before you in an attempt to destroy you and ruin your witness.

When those appealing things are presented, rely upon God’s Word and His direction and guidance. Stand fast in your love and commitment to God. Submit to Him, then resist the devil and he will flee from you.

God does provide a way out. Seize it and praise Him for His faithfulness.