We See Jesus – Tempted in the Wilderness

Text : Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13.

Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness where He was tempted by the devil.  The devil appealed to the 3 basic areas of human temptation. However, Jesus responded by juxtaposing spiritual counterpoints from the Scriptures by stating, “It is written…”

Let us study the climax of the temptations of Jesus.

  1. Appeal to the lust of the flesh – Matthew 4:3-4.

After having fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, Jesus was naturally hungry.  Satan challenges Jesus’ identity. “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

Jesus’ responds, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ” – Deuteronomy 8:3.

  1. Appeal to the pride of life – Matthew 4:5-7.

Satan challenges Jesus’ identity again. Setting Jesus on the pinnacle of the temple, Satan tells Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down” and challenges Him to test God, by quoting from Scripture!

“For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.” – Psalm 91:11-12.

Jesus’ responds, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” – Deuteronomy 16:16.

  1. Appeal to the lust of the eyes – Matthew 4:8-10.

Satan takes Jesus to a high mountain and shows Him the kingdoms of the world.  He offers to give Jesus all of them if He will worship Satan.  In effect, the devil offers a shortcut to receiving power over the nations instead of Jesus’ designated path of suffering and death.  Jesus is not tempted. Instead, He rebukes Satan.  “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” – Deuteronomy 6:13.

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. – Matthew 4:11.

Lessons

  1. Material sustenance alone cannot truly satisfy, we need the spiritual sustenance from God’s Word.
  2. While we are to trust in the Lord, we should not foolishly tempt Him.
  3. Scripture can easily be abused, as well as used. – 2 Peter 3:16.
  4. The Way to glory is not quick and easy, but long and hard. – Acts 14:22; Romans 2:7.
  5. We are to worship and serve God alone and not idols.
  6. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7.

Application

We have the same enemy. We should not treat him lightly.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  – 1 Peter 5:8, 9.

We have similar temptations.  The Bible tells us how we may avoid/overcome them.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. – 1 John 2:15-17.

We have the same tools to overcome.

–  Jesus appealed to the Word of God.  So should we, with “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:17.

– Jesus had faith in the plan of God (victory from suffering).  We need a similar shield of faith – Ephesians 6:16.

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. – Hebrews 10:35-39.

CONCLUSION

  1. But perhaps the greatest lesson to glean from “The Temptation Of Jesus” is that we have a Savior who in all things was made like us…
  • Through suffering, testing, temptation Jesus was perfected (qualified) to serve as high priest for humanity – Hebrews 2:10.
  • That He might be our merciful and faithful High Priest – Hebrews 2:17
  • That having suffered, being tempted, He can aid us who are tempted – Hebrews 2:18
  • That He might be sympathetic, providing mercy and grace to help in time of need – Hebrews 4:15-16
  1. Are you burdened with temptations?
  • Look to Jesus as your example in learning how to overcome temptation in your life!
  • Look to Jesus as your High Priest when you need to approach God in prayer and receive mercy and grace for those times when you succumbed to temptation!

As in all things, look to Jesus, as the writer to Hebrews exhorts us –

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” – Hebrews 12:2-3.

Christ Jesus was victorious over Satan!  We can be part of that victorious assembly!


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Special thanks to Mark A. Copeland at Executable Outlines for permission to use ideas from his sermon outlines in this post. 

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