Summary: The Devil’s temptation of Jesus centered upon "if you are the Son of God." Even at the cross a voice cries, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross" (MT 27:40). Satan’s way may seem easier, but those led by the Spirit have a far different w

Child of the King: Temptation and Identity

First Sunday of Lent 2006

Dr. Paul G. Humphrey

There was a young preacher visiting with an old man who had an old hound dog. The preacher said, “that sure is a nice dog, what is his name?” The old farmer hemmed and hawed and said, “what is that flower with a long stem with thorns and red pedals?” The preacher replied, “a rose.” The old farmer said, “that is right.” Looking over to his wife, the farmer said, “Rose, what do we call that old dog?”

Do you always remember that you are a child of the King? We are going to be looking this morning at the temptation of Jesus. And, central to the temptations that Jesus faces is the repeated statement of Satan, “if you are the Son of God.”

As we face temptation in life, we must also remember that we are children of the King. Let’s begin in Mark this morning.

MK 1:9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

MK 1:12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

MK 1:14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

This morning we are looking at the temptation of Jesus.

In Mark we see that after Jesus’ baptism, after he sees the Spirit descending upon him like a dove, he hears the affirmation of the Father expressing Jesus’ identity, the Father’s love for him and the Father’s good pleasure in him.

And Jesus is sent into the wilderness by the Spirit. A strong word for “sent” is used here. He was driven into the wilderness by the Spirit. It is a verb Mark usually reserves for exorcisms or violent acts.

Mark 1:12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness. (KJV)

Friends, that same Spirit will lead us.

Romans 8 Tells us that those that are led by the Spirit are children of God.

1:13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan;

and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. (KJV)

Was this temptation real? Could Jesus be tempted?

The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way, yet, found to be without sin. It is hard for us to understand how God could take on flesh and be fully God the Son, and yet, Fully man.

The tempter often arrives as we are led by the Spirit, as we are doing the will of God. His goal is to deceive us concerning our understanding of God’s purpose. Satan’s goal is to overturn the intended result.

He often comes when we are at our weakest. And, we sometimes fail to realize when we are at our weakest point.

Let’s look to Matthew 4:1 so that we can get a better look at the temptation of Jesus.

1. Flesh vs. Faith in and Obedience to the Word of God

MT 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

In this first temptation, Jesus is weak, after fasting for forty days.

As I said earlier, the Tempter may come you when you are weak too. Not when you have just really felt the affirmation of God and gotten on fire for church work, but after you have been in the wilderness for forty days.

After you have spent forty days in the wilderness of marital problems . . . here comes Satan.

After you have spent forty days in the wilderness of financial problems … here comes Satan.

After you have spent forty days in the wilderness of grief . . . here comes Satan saying, are you really a child of God?

Satan is usually saying, “Ignore your vow, your fidelity, your faith or your morals, because you can turn this situation around on your own. These rocks can be bread.

Jesus has been in the wilderness for 40 days “not eating.” Why? Is there anything wrong with eating? I would propose to you that Jesus is not eating, not because there is nothing to eat, but because he is fasting. This is a special time for Jesus.

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