Summary: The midst of desperation, Satan entices men with evil desires, wrong motives, & doubt. This lesson teaches us that if we steadfastly resist his temptations by refusing to conform to them, and instead follow the directions of Scripture, the tempter will flee from us.
Introduction: Overcoming the Temptation of Desperation is important because desperation will cause men to act out of character. The desperation of the pandemic and the fear it brings has caused many to hoard up supplies, buy additional guns and ammo, purchase additional alcohol and others intoxicants, and to live in constant fear as if we must take care of ourselves, provide for ourselves, protect ourselves as if God is no longer in charge. Think about this passage from Lu 12:28 – 32 “If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Our lesson is taken from the Gospel of St. Luke. The book of has been called "the most beautiful book in the world. When we turn to the writings of Luke, we turn, to the writings of the man who wrote more of the New Testament than any other of its authors. In the printed Revised Standard Version of the New Testament there are 552 pages. Luke's Gospel takes up 78 pages and Acts 71 pages, a total of 149 pages, which is to say that Luke wrote 27 per cent, more than a quarter, of the New Testament. Paul's letters take up 121 pages, which is quite a few less than the writings of Luke.
Of the three Synoptic Gospels, Luke's is the most comprehensive. Luke has five mira¬cles which are not in any other of the Gospels. He alone, for instance, has the raising of the widow's son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17); the healing of the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19); and other healings (Luke 5:1-11 13:10-17, 14:1-6). Luke alone, for instance, has the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37); the friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-8); the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10); the lost son (Luke 15:11-32); the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31); the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8); and many others. It is only in Luke that we find the story of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1 10); Jesus trial before Herod (Luke 23:6-12); the story of the penitent thief (Luke 23:39-43); and the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35). It is easy to see what an immense debt we owe to Luke, and we can understand F. C. Grant when he says that, if he ever did have to choose which one Gospel he would choose to keep, if only one could be kept, it would be Luke.
We know very little about this Luke who was the largest contributor to the New Testament. Tradition says that he came from Antioch, that city in which the Gospel was first preached to the Gentiles, and where the fol¬lowers of Christ were first called Christians. The one thing we do know about Luke is that he was a Gentile. It is an astonishing thing to think that the man who wrote more of the New Testament than anyone else was not a Jew but a Gentile. It may be that we find his Gospel especially attractive, because being a Gentile he speaks the kind of language which we speak, and thinks in the same way as we do. Secondly, we know that Luke was a doctor. It is clear that Luke was a cultured Greek in the way his gospel is written. He uses the kind of excellent Greek of which any Greek might be proud. It may be that it was because he was a doctor that Luke wrote the kind of Gospel he wrote. There is a say¬ing that a clergyman sees men at their best, a lawyer sees men at their worst, and a doctor sees men as they really are. A good doctor can tell what is wrong with a man, and yet he is never repelled or disgusted by ill¬ness; his one desire is to help and to heal. That is to say, a good doctor sees men with clarity and with com¬passion, and that is certainly true of Luke.
Our lesson begins after the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan. Here in our text, after the blessing of the Holy Spirit descended upon him, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. After the blessing, then comes the trial. Many times, when the soul is richly blessed with great favor, Satan stirs himself to rob us of what we have received. While our Lord was hidden in obscurity, Satan was still; but as soon as Christ comes forth out of the Jordan, he finds Satan waiting for him. The Bible cautions us that having done all to stand, prepare to stand again. God uses tests and trials to prepare us for greater service. Here in the text, even Christ, the last Adam must qualify himself for his office as Redeemer by withstanding the temptations of Satan. Remember, when the first Adam was tried, he and Eve failed the test.