Summary: Continuing in looking at Jesus the King (5th in Worship the King series), we see He was our tempted King, and how He can help us when we are tempted.
Luke 4:1-13 – Enemy at the Gates
The devotional Today in the Word for January 5, 1997, tells the story of Manfred von Richthofen. Maybe you don’t know him by that name. Maybe you know him better as the Red Baron. Richthofen was the celebrated World War I pilot who was responsible for shooting down 80 enemy aircraft. On April 21, 1918, he began chasing a British plane that was trying to escape the battle. As the Red Baron pursued his prey behind Allied lines, gunfire from either machine-gun nests on the ground or another British pilot who had come to help killed von Richthofen. In the words of one report, the end of German’s famous “Red Baron” came because he pursued an Allied airplane “too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory.”
You know, chasing temptation for too long, too far, and too low into enemy territory has caused the downfall of many good people. Sin takes us farther than we ever wanted to go, costs more than we were ever willing to pay, and hurts more than we ever dreamed it would. And it all starts with how we handle the temptations that we face.
But we are not alone. Over the last couple of months we have been looking at Jesus our King. We saw Him as the sovereign King, the prophesied King, the royal King, the redeemer King, and the triumphant King. Today we will see Jesus as our Tempted King. Let’s read Luke 4:1-13.
This is a fairly familiar passage of scripture. I hope to show you something new in it, but if not, then at least something fresh to apply to your life again today. I want to show you what Jesus is able to do because He was tempted. And I also want to show you what you are able to do in the midst of temptation.
But first, let’s look at the nature of temptation and its source, Satan. Here are some truths about temptation, based on this passage…
1) Even Spirit-filled people get tempted – v1. Temptation is not a sin. Constant temptation is not a sin. The same temptation over and over again is not a sin. If you think that having a desire to think ungodly things is ungodly, then you will never feel good enough. Jesus was tempted.
2) Satan knows what we want. He’s been watching our every move since the day we were born. Even though he can’t read our minds or thoughts, he can see what attracts us, and that’s what he offers to us.
3) Maybe what Satan offers us is close to what God wants. After all, Jesus really did deserve the world. Satan just showed him a shortcut, an immediate way to get it. For example, God wants us to love and be loved, but Satan offers shortcuts and cheaper substitutes to that.
4) Satan knows the Bible. He quoted it word for word – v10-11. If you don’t know the Bible very well, he can very easily lift verses out of context and have you think they mean one thing, when they really don’t mean it at all.
5) Satan doesn’t stay shut up – v13. Even if you can keep temptation at bay right now, it will not last forever. So, what you need is to learn a strategy to continually fend off temptation. That’s one of the reasons why our King was tempted in the 1st place: to teach us that strategy. So let’s look at Jesus’ example.
This passage indicates 3 temptations, 3 that Jesus faced and it’s the same 3 that we face: to satisfy our appetites, to increase our power, and to fuel our ego. We are tempted to indulge in our appetites and not wait for God’s permission or timing. We are tempted to want the kingdoms of the world, to have all that we can get, to thirst for more, more, more. And we are all tempted to want fame and attention and popularity, to show who we are and what we are made of. Someone called these 3 temptations the girls, the gold, and the glory. Someone else called them sex, money and power. The apostle John called them the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. However you stack it, there it is: temptations common to all people.
Jesus was an expert when it came to temptation. He knew what it was to be tempted. Author CS Lewis wrote this: “No man knows how bad he is until he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. That is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. Christ, because He was the only Man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only Man who knows to the full what temptation means.”