Sermons

Summary: Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, and not just in the 3 areas of which we have record here. The last verse of this record makes it clear that when it was done it was far from over. Satan just withdrew to lick his wounds and prepare for another assault at an opportune time.

Plato had a friend named Trachilus who had a very close call and almost lost his life in a storm at

sea. The ship actually sank and he was thrown into the sea, but he managed to get to shore. When

he reached his home he ordered his servants to wall up the two windows in his chamber that

overlooked the sea. He was afraid that some bright day he would look at the tranquil scene of

beauty and be tempted to once again venture out on its treacherous waters. This is one of man's

major methods of fighting temptation. It is by striving not to see it.

There is no doubt about it that what we see is a primary lure of temptation. Had Adam and Eve

never looked upon the forbidden fruit and seen it's loveliness they would not have been so easily

enticed to taste it. Had David not seen the beauty of Bathsheba he would not have been lured into

the sin that so marred his life. Had Lot's wife been unable to look back at Sodom she would not

have become a pillar of salt.

The story is repeated for perpetually as people testify that had they never seen that automobile

with the key in it they never would have stolen it. Had they never seen that door open, they never

would have entered the building, and on and on it goes. What the eyes see provoke all kinds of

feelings in the mind and body, and that is why we teach the children to sing, "Be careful little eyes

what you see." But the fact is, there is no escape from seeing what can entice you to choose evil.

Even before television it was nearly impossible, but now it is definitely impossible. Sin is so visible

in our world today that we could accuracy describe our period of history as the times of temptation.

It is reassuring for us to see that Jesus went through such a time as this himself. Satan took Him

to a high place so He could see all the kingdoms and all their splendor. We sometimes think of His

temptation as a one time ordeal, and so we dismiss it as totally different from the lifetime battle that

we have to endure. We imagine the testing of Jesus to be like this: "Yes, I'll never forget that day

when I was about 30 years old, and I had a terrible time of triple temptation." We figure that

anyone can get through a tough day, and so we tend to doubt that Jesus really knows what

temptation is all about for the average man.

Take note of the precise language of Luke in verse 2: "Where for 40 days He was tempted by

the devil." We think in terms of 40 days of fasting and then a day of temptation, but Luke says it

was 40 days of temptation. We are talking a major battle here, and not a mere skirmish for a day.

W. Graham Scroggie writes, "...it is not the 40th day that we fear so much as the 39 days of petty

assault, of guerilla warfare, of irritating trial....But Jesus faced these also. In ways of which we have

no record, He was assaulted by the devil during the whole period, and the 40th day temptations were

but the last, concentrated, and desperate assault of the infuriated foe upon His weakened body but

loyal spirit."

Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are, and not just in the 3 areas of which we have

record here. The last verse of this record makes it clear that when it was done it was far from over.

Satan just withdrew to lick his wounds and prepare for another assault at an opportune time. In

other words, a careful reading of this temptation account makes clear that this triple temptation,

though of tremendous significance, is only a trickle of the total temptation Jesus had to endure.

Someone said that those who flee from temptation usually leave a forwarding address. Satan

catches up with them, and so it was with Jesus, for this ordeal of His was not just a one-time shot.

We do not live in a world that Jesus does not understand. He knows every trick of the devil, and

He knows the power of temptation. We need to take seriously Heb. 2:18, "Because He himself

suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted." Let's recognize that

Jesus has been there. He knows the power of persistent temptation, and He also knows the way to

victory. The study of His temptation is one of the best things we can do to learn how to handle this

universal experience.

When I say universal, I mean it in an absolute sense. Death is universal, but we have a couple of

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