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Summary: A lesson describing what I believe to be the greatest struggle mankind faces in his groping for God.

OUR GREATEST TEMPTATION

Luke 22:39-46

INTRODUCTION: A small-town country preacher and his wife were having a very heated discussion. Seems she had purchased a very expensive dress and he was none too happy about it. "How could you do this!" he exclaimed. "I don’t know," she cried, "I was standing in the store looking at the dress, then I found myself trying it on. It was like the Devil was saying to me, "Gee, you look great in that dress. You ought to buy it." "Well," her husband said, "You know how to deal with Satan! Just tell him to get behind you." "I did," his wife said, "but then Satan said "It looks great from back here, too."

This is often how Satan works in our lives, isn’t it. He appeals to our most base instinct, our carnal side, our fleshly desires, our weaknesses. After all, that was the case with Eve in the Garden of Eden – the Fruit was good for food, it appealed to her eyes and it would make her wise like God. He uses the same temptation with Jesus in the wilderness – turn the stones to bread, I’ll give you these wealthy cities, bring the angels to the rescue. In Luke 22 we find Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, and he is not alone, Satan up to his old tricks. READ TEXT When Jesus utters this prayer He is only hours from the cross and He knows it. It is in this scene where we get a glimpse into a struggle that we share with Him. Here Jesus is wrestling with humanities greatest temptation – the temptation to exalt self and failure to surrender to God. And from this passage we are given an intimate look into the two greatest struggles we face.

{The First is…}

I. THE STRUGGLE TO DENY SELF

A. A lot has been said about Jesus sharing with us in the human condition, and rightly so. By the wisdom of God, Jesus was not spared any of the things humanity bears each day of existence.

1. He was as much man as He was God, feeling every pain, bearing every emotion and wrestling with Satan every step of the way.

2. This is why the Hebrew writer tells us that by His human experience Jesus is now qualified to be our High Priest – testifying before God on our behalf as an expert witness to the trials and tribulations we face.

B. As we see Jesus praying this prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane we must realize that He is responding to the work of Satan in His life. No, Satan is not clearly identified in this passage, but he is definitely here.

1. And Jesus knew He must deny himself to fulfill the will of God. That was why He was born of a woman. That was His mission. But Satan has placed the fear of surrendering His life into His mortal body.

2. This is the Devil’s last chance to ruin God’s plan for redemption. If he can get Jesus to put it off, to find one excuse or to just say NO, he then has won the day. Matthew records Jesus saying, "Lord, Let this cup pass from me." This "Cup" does not mean duty or obligation, but the cup of God’s wrath that Isaiah and Jeremiah speak of that will be poured out upon man because of sin.

3. The human side was not ready to suffer this, but Jesus knew he had to. He was struggling with the need to deny self and surrender to the will of God. And Satan seems to have found a way to bring great anguish upon the Son of God.


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