Sermons

Summary: Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted. The Word is precise in stating that He was led by the Spirit. Why does the Spirit of God lead anyone to be tempted?

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“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written,

“Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’

“Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“He will command his angels concerning you,”

and

“On their hands they will bear you up,

lest you strike your foot against a stone.”’

“Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

‘You shall worship the Lord your God

and him only shall you serve.”’

“Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” [1]

Christians often lay claim to the Spirit’s leading. Frequently, the person making such a claim for himself or for herself is defending bold speech, even justifying abrasive actions or attitudes that others could consider unchristian. To justify the rebuff delivered, the individual will claim to be led by the Spirit. At other times, we speak in generalities of being led by the Spirit to describe a particular lifestyle or a given course of action.

I don’t deny that the Spirit of God leads those who are submitted to the Master, but what if the Spirit leads His people into temptation? Can we accept that He would do such a thing? Before you respond that the Spirit of God would never lead anyone into temptation, consider what Matthew has written concerning the Master after His baptism. After baptism by John, “Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” [MATTHEW 4:1]. The Spirit of God deliberately led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted; and it was not just some run-of-the-mill tempter—it was the devil himself tempting the Master!

The temptation Jesus endured is recorded for the benefit of all believers. Paul writes, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:13].

You may be inclined to argue that Jesus doesn’t understand your particular temptation, but He was tempted in the very areas where each of us is tempted. He did not succumb to the tempter’s allure. Therefore, we read, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” [HEBREWS 4:15]. Thus, we are encouraged, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” [HEBREWS 4:16].


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