Summary: Goes over the 3 specific temptations felt by Jesus after the wilderness. Touches a bit on how to avoid temptation.
SWORDFIGHT IN THE DESERT
JESUS SERIES II (TOPIC: TEMPTATION)
OPEN: Any duck hunters in here? I am not one, but let’s suppose it is duck season and I am hunting ducks. So I am in this boat, shooting down some birds. And I have this awesomely trained beagle that is with me and is fully trained (I don’t know why I choose beagle, I suppose cause it sounds funny). Here is a not a trick question: which ducks do I send my dog to go get. The ones that I have hit and are wounded, or the ones that are still alive?
The Devil is the same way. The Devil comes when we are hurting, when we are hit. That is how he came to Jesus, and that is how he comes to us. He is…a dog.
BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 4:1-11
4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 4:2 After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished. 4:3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man does not live 6 by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, had him stand on the highest point of the temple, 4:6 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 ‘with their hands they will lift you up, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 4:7 Jesus said to him, “Once again it is written: ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’” 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their grandeur. 4:9 And he said to him, “I will give you all these things if you throw yourself to the ground and worship me.” 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” 4:11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs.
TEMPTATION HITS EVERYONE: There is a little boy who had a problem. The boy wanted a new bicycle, but he also loved ice cream. So that night he prayed to God, “Father, please don’t let the ice cream man come down my street so I can use money for my bike.”
Somehow, I don’t think the little boy has the right idea of prayer, but at least he understands where he is tempted. So let’s look at how Jesus was tempted.
1. STONES BECOME BREAD:
BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 4:1-4
4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 4:2 After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished. 4:3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread.” 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man does not live 6 by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
TEMPTATION OF THE BODY: Satan tempted Jesus with the challenge of producing instant food. That’s basic, simple, and would seem on the surface to someone living in America to be ridiculous. But, in the land of abundance, food doesn’t always appear to be the stumbling block since we always seem to have food. Our USA temptation tends much more to deal with drugs, looks, style, and other temptations of the body (but food still can be).
JESUS WAS FAMISHED: If I was famished, food would be a major temptation too. I mean, Jesus can turn water into wine and multiply bread and fish at will, it would seem almost reasonable to take Satan’s suggestion to eat. Here is Jesus in the Judea wilderness, a stretch of yellow nothing between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, it glows like a furnace when it’s hot.
TEMPTATION IS TAILORED TO THE INDIVIDUAL: Here is an example, let’s just say the Lord has told Lori to read the Bible for 3 hours tonight at 7:00pm. She agrees. Then when 7:00pm rolls around, she learns that the Green Bay Packers are playing the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football. She would say, who cares? Of course she would, cause that would NOT be a temptation for her. But as for me, that would be a big deal. How stupid does that seem? Well, temptation is tailored to the individual.
HOW DOES JESUS RESPOND? Does Jesus take the bait off of barbed hook? No. His resistance comes from scripture. Let’s take a look at a sword shall we?