THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS
Jesus Christ came into the world, not only to atone for sin, but also to be a perfect example to His people. It was a necessity for Him to suffer in temptation, that He might know the experience of being tempted.
Repeated efforts were made by the devil to deflect Jesus from doing His Father's will. Temptation is pressure to yield to influences that can lead a person to sin. Jesus' temptation came from the prince of deceit and darkness.
"Then Jesus was led up of The Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil". Matthew 4:1-11
Satan at one time was a beautiful angel but chose to rebel against God for self-power and as a created being he has definite limitations.
Satan genuinely tempted Jesus for evil reasons. The motive of the devil was to destroy Jesus' mission for Jesus' death would destroy the devil's power. To break the power over spiritual and physical death was a serious problem for the devil. It was a genuine and real 'do or die' attempt from him to spoil Jesus' life so that God's kingdom would not be able to restore the broken fellowship with God that Adam had lost.
When it was the time of Jesus' entry into public ministry to do great works for His Kingdom, it was then that the devil became active in the life of Jesus.
The time of Jesus' first major temptation is very notable by the events which immediately preceded it, Jesus' obedient act of baptism and His Sonship acknowledgement from The Father. It is recorded that the heavens opened to reveal that which was above and beyond; The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus.
The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for 40 days, fasting and praying, where Satan tempted him. God used this as a test just as Israel was tested 40 years in the wilderness. Jesus demonstrated that He was obedient to The Word of God and used The Word of God to have victory over temptation.
Jesus had gone to the wilderness, a striking sign of the fallen state of the world, which He came to redeem, also a right and just image of what believers pass through on the way to The Promise Land.
Exultation and joy often precede a low dejected, downhearted state. Israel after jubilantly leaving Egypt victoriously was followed by Pharaoh and his army. David, after his first anointing was hunted. Elijah the prophet of God, after a defeat against the prophets of Baal wanted to die. Paul, after rejoicing at being taken to the third heaven, received a 'thorn in the flesh', 'a messenger from Satan to buffet him'. Christ, after His awesome, illustrious baptism was tempted of the devil. Temptation attacks the areas of power, lust, pride, and greed.
Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, to abuse miraculous power, to take an easy path to power, to doubt He was God's Son. Jesus resisted temptation by trusting in God's Word, by knowing it, by using it, by obeying His Father. This brought the result of Satan backing away.
Moses, the Leader of Israel and The Law-bearer of the Old Covenant also fasted 40 days and nights, as did Elijah, Leader of the prophetical fasted 40 days and 40 nights, and Jesus, Head of the New Testament church fasted 40 days and 40 nights.
One of the reasons for fasting for 40 days and 40 nights to meditate and pray was to learn an important lesson, to know the voice of deception from the voice of Truth.
The devil, the leader of all apostate angels, the first deceiver and murderer, the seducer of mankind, is opposed to all that is good, true and holy. His only work is seeking whom he might destroy by subtle deceit and craftily means for all wickedness and power.
The Temptations of Jesus were focused on three vulnerable human areas, which are the basic temptations to which humans succumb. -HUNGER physical needs and desires -BELIEF AND TRUST (Faith), that God would always prove Himself -ABANDONMENT OF GOD'S WILL to take short cuts to reach goals.
Jesus remained faithful in temptation. God will test His people but it is Satan who tempts the wrong doings.
1) The Temptation of Jesus was to distrust The Father's care and goodness. In calling on Jesus to satisfy His hunger appeals to Jesus' power as The Son of God. A temptation to perform the provision of manna, a repeat of the miracle that happened when the Israelites were in the wilderness after leaving Egypt. He was tempted to assert His independence for His own benefit rather than trusting as a son, God His Father, to provide His physical needs and desires.
2) Jesus was tempted to rash presumption by a perversion of Scripture, to display His Messiahship, to perform a spectacular feat so people would be awed and hold Him in wonder, to challenge God for the promise of protection, for possession and power. He was tempted to please the crowd, to avoid the Cross. The devil tried to inspire Jesus to put God to the test.
3) Jesus was tempted to succumb to idolatry by the arrogant offer of kingdoms to which the devil had no claim. The kingdoms were to be given to Jesus by God if He asked. This is also a warning against any idolatry or greed for power.
Jesus honoured the Word of God and triumphed over His adversary at this point in time, for immediately the devil fled from Him. Jesus used God's written Word as an instrumental weapon by which He quenched all the fiery darts of the devil.
The faithfulness of Jesus' temptation is highlighted against the murmuring of the Israelites in their wandering in the desert.
Jesus resisted the devil during His ministry. Satan's power is limited and God's protection can be sought in prayer and God's love cannot be outdone.
The temptations of Jesus continued throughout Jesus' public life and ministry. The Pharisees tempted Jesus to give them a sign, a miracle, a display of power from Heaven beyond His ministry of healing and His sovereign miracles over nature and the spiritual world.
His opponents tempted Him with trick questions, to side-step the trial of The Cross. Christ was tempted through people, in the Garden and on The Cross.
Jesus Christ knew temptation, however He never yielded to it. The sinlessness of Christ refers to His obedient refusal to give in to temptation. He resisted temptation.
Jesus helps those who are being tempted.
Angels had witnessed this triumph and became ministers to Him of comfort. All believers have ministering angels sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation.
The Temptations of Christ are intended to teach the true character of The Great High Priest of every believer, that He was tempted in every way, He used the true method of overcoming the enemy, by the power and truth of the Word of Truth. It is not sinful to be tempted. However the devil can only suggest, to sin is to submit to the suggestion.
Believers can identify with Jesus in His temptation and have confidence in the face of temptation, because they know who their High Priest is and what He has been through.
Jesus proved that the devil's opposition to God's work will fail.
Jesus remained the obedient Son. He had been tempted in every way. If He had not been triumphant in His temptations the Adam race could not have been restored.
Temptations are invitations to live in a self-serving life against God towards self- reliance, which result in self-devotion.
|SCRIPTURES Hebrews 2:18, 4:15-16, Matthew 4:1-10.
QUESTIONS 1] How does Jesus' temptations help believers? 2] Can believers have confidence in the midst of temptation? 3] How did Jesus resist temptation?
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