Summary: Every man, including Jesus has to face the universal experience of temptation.
Art Linkletter tells of how when he was 10 years old he was offered a job of tempting people to buy
ice cream cones. The ice cream stand owner noticed the dramatic way in which he licked an ice
cream cone, and so he offered him ten cents an afternoon if he would wonder through the nearby
park licking cones. He writes, "I used such a seductive curling action with my tongue that
passers-by couldn't resist and the stands business began to soar." He was demonstrating the power of
temptation. That is what advertising is all about. It is a lure to motivate you to buy something by
creating in you a hunger for it.
Satan specializes in creating hungers for that which is out of God's will, and he is good at it. He
created in Adam and Eve a hunger for the forbidden fruit, and thereby, brought about the fall of
man. And now ever since the fall he has succeeded in making every person hunger for the
forbidden. All, that is, except one. The great exception is the Lord Jesus. He was the one exception
who did not sin, but there are no exceptions to temptation. Every man, including Jesus has to face
the universal experience of temptation.
If Satan could have succeeded in creating in him a hunger for the forbidden, he would have won
his greatest victory, and would have defeated the plan of God for mans salvation. The temptation of
Jesus was not only his testing, but the testing of Satan, for his whole destiny rides on whether or not
he can succeed. Thus, again we see this seemingly minor incident in the life of our Lord as the hinge
on which the door of destiny swings for Jesus, for Satan, and for all mankind. What is going to
transpire on this desolate mountain called Quarantania just West of ancient Jericho is going to alter
all of history. Either Jesus or Satan will experience what nearby Jericho experienced when the walls
of the city came tumbling down. The walls of one of their kingdoms will fall, and lead to their
ultimate defeat. Thus, we have hear the conflict of the kings of the kingdom of darkness and the
kingdom of light.
Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down. Now we see Jesus the new
Joshua facing the formidable wall of the kingdom of darkness. The only way he can invade that
kingdom and set the captives free is by defeating its king. In the temptation of Jesus, who has just
been by His baptism anointed the Messiah and King, we see the conflict of the two greatest kings in
history. It is a duel that will determine which kingdom will ultimately rule this earth. Jesus said in
Mark 3:27, "In fact, no one can enter a strong mans house and carry off his possessions unless he
first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house." Jesus could not begin His public ministry
of healing and casting out demons and setting people free from Satan's bondage until He first
defeated Satan. That is why His temptation comes before His ministry.
Much ado is made about the heavy weight championship of the world boxing match. Millions go
into it, but the outcome makes no difference as far as the destiny of the world, but here in the
wilderness is an isolated encounter that nobody on earth is even aware of, and yet on its outcome
hangs the eternal destiny of all mankind. This morning we want to take a ring-side seat, and
examine in detail this conflict of the kings. The first thing we see is-
I. THE TIMING OF THE TEMPTATION.
Notice verse 12 begins with the words at once. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus in His baptism,
and immediately without delay the Spirit drove Jesus into the desert to be tempted. This timing
confirms all that we said about the importance of the baptism of Jesus. It was this event that made
Jesus the Messiah and the second Adam. He was the representative man who would have to reverse
the defeat of the first Adam for man to have a chance. Satan has been champion for centuries, but
now another challenger has come to try and take that title away.
No doubt, Jesus faced temptation before this. This is hard to imagine living 30 years without
some battles with Satan, but until His baptism and anointing with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was not the
official representative of the kingdom of light. As soon as He received these credentials He was
ready for the official encounter. The Holy Spirit was now His manager, and the first thing He did
after the baptism was to drive Jesus to the scene of battle, where the duel of the ages could take