Summary: Looking behind the temptations of Jesus in the desert and how the Devil uses the same design of temptations on us today.
March 4, 2001 Luke 4:1-13
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’” 5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 So if you worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” 9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ”‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; 11 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” 12 Jesus answered, “It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
There are some who say that history repeats itself. There are some facts that seem to support this theory. Take for instance this eerie comparison to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy:
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday. Both Presidents were shot in the head.
Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy. Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were assassinated by Southerners. Both were succeeded by Southerners.
Both successors were named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839. Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.
Both assassins were known by their three names. Both names are comprised of fifteen letters.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named ’Ford.’ Kennedy was shot in a car called a ’Ford (Lincoln.)’
Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse. Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.
Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
From this example alone it would appear obvious that history does repeat itself. This can be proven from a multitude of other examples as well. If this premise is true, it means that we can learn from examining the way that the devil attacked Jesus - and how Jesus overcame the devil. So today we will examine the way that the devil attacks as we consider the theme -
The Devil Has a Diabolical Design for Disaster
I. Do it yourself
“Didn’t I tell you to wash the dishes?”, the father says to his son.
The son replies, “I was going to!”
“WHEN? Next year?” Asks the father.
Then the mother chimes in, “I would really prefer you let me do the dishes!”
The father replies, “why is that?”
His wife says, “Because you guys don’t know how to wash dishes - you leave food on them half the time!”
Have you ever had conversations such as that within your household? Ever been frustrated because someone doesn’t do something by your time table or up to your standards? Imagine then, having gone 40 days without being given ANYTHING to eat - and Luke says, “Jesus was HUNGRY!” So the devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” It sounds innocent enough - doesn’t it? You could almost sense the innocense in the devil’s temptation - just make these stones into bread - what’s the big deal? If you’re the Son of God - just do it. There is no law against turning stones into bread! It won’t hurt anything.
The devil was right in implying that there is nothing wrong in and of itself in turning stones into bread. But since the Holy Spirit led him into the desert - then Jesus was operating with the understanding and promise that GOD would take care of Him in this desert. And so Jesus replied - “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone.’” This was a quote of Deuteronomy 8:3, describing why God fed the Israelites with Manna in the desert - to prove to them that HE would provide for them with His WORD! If God could take care of over two million people in the desert for 40 years, then God could certainly take care of one man for 40 DAYS in the desert. It would have been a sin of a lack of TRUST for Jesus to turn these stones into bread in His OWN time. It would have been equivalent to telling God, “why aren’t you feeding me already? Isn’t 40 days enough! I’ll do it myself!”