Summary: Lessons from the temptation of Jesus
Tempted, Yet Triumphant
This morning we are going to look at one of the most monumental and mysterious spiritual battles of all time - the personal confrontation between Jesus Christ and Satan. Temptation is something we all deal with, it is part and parcel of the spiritual battle raging in the Universe between good and evil, between the forces of God and of Satan. The specific temptations that Satan brought against Jesus are different in character than the ones he will bring against us, but this passage shows us how Satan will seek to deceive and trip us up in sin. We all have areas of weakness and Satan always looks and tries to take advance of weak-ness. This passage shows us from Jesus’ on example how Satan works and even more importantly that victory over temptation is possible.
In Mark chapter one, verse twelve we read, “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. (13) And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him. (14) Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, (15) and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
By way of introduction I want you to notice a couple of things with me.
First notice, When Jesus was tempted, - it was immediately after His Baptism. Mark’s gospel tells us that immediately after the Baptism, Jesus was driven by the spirit into the wilderness. When we last saw Jesus he had launched His ministry by being baptized, not for repentance but to identify with the people. You might have thought that He would have immediately started preached, teaching and healing. But instead we read that the Holy Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted.
The baptism of Jesus was a high moment in the life of Jesus up to that point. It was the beginning of His ministry and there He was anointed by the Spirit and declared by the Father “You are My son … well pleased.”
Now this is good for us to note that the high times in our lives are often followed by hard times - triumphant times can and often are followed by troubling times. There are plenty of examples in the Bible to prove this principle. Just one such example is that of Elijah, immediately after defeating the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), he was so low that he was asking God to end his life. So be prepared, because sometimes immediately after we enjoy great blessings we will encounter great challenges.
Secondly, notice Where this temptation took place - In the wilderness, now the Judean wilderness extends west from the Dead Sea almost to Jerusalem, and is some thirty-five miles long and fifteen miles wide. It is a very barren desolate area, and temperatures often times reach 120-125 degrees. In the Old Testa-ment we find this area referred to as “The Devast-ation.” Nowhere in Palestine could Jesus have been more isolated or in less comfort - than there .
I find this incredibly comforting that our Lord Jesus knows what it is like to be in the wilderness. He knows what it is like to experience desert times, wilderness times, barren and dry times!
So that is the when and the where, but what we really want to focus on today.
•Why was Jesus tempted?
Mark in his typical concise fashion covers the temptation of Jesus in just two verses (1:12-13) but Matthew gives a more detailed description in Matthew 4:1-11. Using these two sources this morning I want to share three reasons Jesus was tempted with you. In Matthew four verse one we read, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (2) And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. (3) Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (4) But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”(5) Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, (6) and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘ He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘ In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” (7) Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” (8) Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. (9) And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” (10) Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (11) Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”