Summary: Jesus was tempted in every way. His battle in the wilderness underscores his authority and victory over temptation and sin

Grace Community Church

Winchester, VA

Pastor Bradford Reaves

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A few guys were on a men’s retreat together and one night they decided to share with each other their struggles and temptations. The first said, “Well, it's kind of embarrassing, but I struggle with pornography.” “My temptation is worse,” said the second fellow. “It's gambling. I can’t stop going to the horse races.” “Mine is worse still,” said the third guy. “I have a bad drinking problem” The fourth fellow was quiet for a moment and then he said, “I love to gossip, but if you’ll excuse me, I need to make a phone call.” (Credit: Kerry Haynes)

We are approaching the emerging of Jesus into his public ministry. Before we get there, we have one more important testimony as to his identity and that is from Satan himself. Over the last several months, we’ve heard and witnessed testimonies from many people that Jesus is and always was the Divine Son of God. We heard it from the Arch Angel Gabriel, from Mary, the Angels, Simeon, John the Baptist. Last week we read of Jesus’ baptism and the witness of the Holy Spirit and God the Father, says out of heaven, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." All these proclaiming Jesus as the Christ.

But there is one last testimony we must examine in order to validate his authority and ability to conquer Satan and sin. Can he truly save sinners from death by conquering temptation, Satan, and sin? Can he overturn the curse of the first Adam? If he cannot do it for himself, then he will not be able to do it for us. And so Jesus is driven out into the desert wilderness to engage in a battle with Satan himself and temptation. Luke tells us that he is alone and hungry. It’s one thing to put on a good front in front of everyone, but your true character is what you are like when no one is watching and your flesh is weak. This is where we find Jesus today and where we will pick it up in our study of Luke:

1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ”(Luke 4:1–4 ESV)

1. Jesus Was Tempted with His Trust

What I want you to understand was that the Trinity was at work here again. Jesus, God the Son, was being led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness by the authority of the Father for the purpose of testing him as impervious to sin. This had to happen because if Jesus had fallen into the temptation of Satan, that salvation would be impossible for us and his sacrifice on the cross would mean nothing. The Bible is clear that Jesus was tempted in every manner and in every way and that Jesus was perfect and free from sin.

15 For 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 ESV)

It was necessary for Jesus to do this before he entered into public ministry, preaching, healing, and eventually going to Calvary. So Jesus is led into the desert where he goes 40 days without eating. I’ve never endured such a fast, but try to imagine the struggle physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Like I said before, it’s one thing to face these things when you are physically well and emotionally strong. It’s a completely different ball game when you are literally starved in all aspects. “What Jesus suffered in the wilderness would have killed a weaker man. His condition was critical. At the end of forty days, he was closer to death than at any other point in his life, except the crucifixion” (Phillip Ryken). His body was desperate for food (v.2).

This is the point where Satan approaches Jesus and says, “If you are the son of God, command these stones to become bread” (v.3). It was at this moment, right when Jesus would be most vulnerable that Satan appears and tempts Jesus with food. What I want you to understand is that Satan’s words are not questioning Jesus’ messiahship. Satan knows full-well who Jesus is, but rather he is using it as a weapon against him. A better way to translate verse three would be to say, “since you are the Son of God.”

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