Summary: A look at Jesus’ temptation and the fact that Jesus didn’t succumb to temptation
Luke 4:1- 13 – The Devil Didn’t Make Him Do it!
“The Devil Made me do it!!!” How many of us have ever used this excuse, even in jest, when we are caught doing something we know we shouldn’t. It is a nice convenient excuse isn’t it, but there is one problem!!! The Devil can’t make you or I do things unless we surrender ourselves to him. Today
The Devil, is often pictured as a little red mischief maker with horns and a pitch fork, but this character doesn’t exist except in comic books. The Devil or Satan as portrayed in Scripture is very real. Some of the things we know about him is …
o That he was once the chief of God’s Angels, but sought to lead a rebellion against God - Ezek28:12-19
o He now resides on Earth (Eph 2:2) and rules over it (Jn 14:30)
o He is a thief (Matt 13:19), a murderer (Jn 8:44), a liar (Jn 8:44), a deceiver (Rev 12:9)
o He seeks to devour people (1 Pet 5:8), blind us to the truth (2 Cor 4:4) and destroy us (1 Cor 5:5)
o He is very clever, but he is not all-powerful, all-knowing or omni-present.
The problem is you see, that Satan, knows all our weaknesses and guess what – he targets those areas. Satan’s temptations always hit us where we are weak and we can not stop that. He is a strong warrior and as such he will always aim for our soft spot. But even though this happens, Satan can still only suggest things to us, it is our choice whether we act or not. Satan will attack you where you are weak, but the choice to sin is yours.
Today I want to talk about Jesus’s experiences with Satan. And while Hebrews 4: 15 says that Jesus was tempted in every way that we were, it goes onto say that even so, he didn’t sin. You see the Devil didn’t make Him do it and likewise the Devil doesn’t make us do it. Even though Satan attacks us where we are weak, but the choice to sin is ours.
These events take place immediately after Jesus’ Baptism. A bit of revision – Why did Jesus need to be Baptised? to Identify with those he was going to save, to Exemplify an obedient life and to Be Annointed to his ministry of Messiah.
We read in vs 1 of chapter 4 that Jesus is full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert and there he was tempted by the desert for 40 days. There are 4 things worthy of note in this verse by way of introduction.
1) Firstly, God prepared Jesus for the battle that he was going to face. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and didn’t need anything more than that. God likewise prepares us for what we need to face in life.
2) Second thing to note here was that it was God’s will that Jesus face off against Satan, so Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit. You can almost imagine God proudly leading his champion out into the desert to do battle with his arch enemy – the Devil.
The word that is translated “tempt” literally means to test or try. There are a number of different ways this same word is used in the Bible. Firstly, it is used of Satan’s tempting people to do evil. God can’t tempt people to do evil (Jas 1:13) so if we are being tempted in this way, we can be sure it is from Satan. Secondly people can try or test God. Israel did this in the desert wanderings (Deut 6:16). Thirdly, there is God testing or trying his people. In this passage we have God sending Jesus into the desert to be tried to see if he’s got what it takes to be the Messiah. And the thing that God uses to test Jesus’s responses is Satan. God allows Satan to tempt Jesus. You see, Satan, is ultimately under God’s control. It’s as if God has a rope around his neck. He can only go as far as God’s rope allows him to.
3) The Third thing of note here is that the temptation lasted 40 days. It was a time of intense testing. Satan was hounding Him probably day and night and we only have a fraction of it recorded here. So don’t think that these 3 temptations were the only times Satan attacked. No, Satan’s attacks were constant and were aimed at Jesus’ weak spots, but you guessed it, it was choice to sin was Jesus’.
4) The Fourth thing of note is where the temptations occurred. It was in the desert. There was no food here and no support for Jesus. He was facing Satan’s temptations on his own and by the end of the 40 days, he was facing the temptations in a body that was physically weak but likely also emotionally weak. His only sustenance was from the Spirit who indwelt Him.