Summary: Jesus is the second Adam, the redeemer of national Israel, and the Son of God.
The Temptation of Jesus, Luke 4:1-13
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, commenting on the depth and power of preaching in his day, which I believe reverberates in our own, made the following comment:
“I know a minister whose shoe laces I am unworthy to unloose, whose preaching is often little better than a sacred miniature painting—I might almost say holy trifling. He is great upon the ten toes of the beast, the four faces of the cherubim, and the mystical meaning of badger’s skins; but the sins of the businessmen, the temptations of the times, and the needs of the age, he scarcely ever touches upon. Such preaching reminds me of a lion engaged in mouse-hunting.”
This morning it is not my aim to hunt mice. What follows is not 5 points to avoid temptation, 3 steps to better marriage, or 10 reasons God wants you to tithe.
The account of the temptation of Christ in the dessert is a window into the person of Jesus like none other. It is His final stage in preparation for earthly ministry and offers tremendous insight into the nature of that ministry.
What follows is the exposition of this passage of Scripture which offers great insight into who Jesus is and what He came to do. When get a hold of who Jesus is, when we become a part of the fulfillment of what He came to do; then we will be equipped to avoid temptation, have better marriages, and live generously.
When we become consumed by who Jesus is, when we grasp the fulness of Christ then our marriages are changed because we are changed; our hearts abound with generosity because they abound with Christ! We avoid temptation because we are too busy following after our Lord to muse with such matters of this world!
Such sermons merely trim the hedges; holy trifling about peculiar matters. Today, let us chop at the root, by considering who Jesus actually is; for the immeasurable weight of His greatness far outweighs the burden of my need.
The blazing fire of His love is enough to melt away the encasing around my sin-frozen heart and awaken the slumber of my weary soul!
The first record of the Lord’s work in Luke’s gospel, after His baptism, is Jesus temptation in the desert. Luke moves us immediately from a time of glory and rejoicing, when the Lord had been blessed of the Father, to a time of suffering.
This theme is recurrent in the life of Christ; the blessing of the Father and a willingness to suffer on our behalf in accordance with the Father’s will. At His baptism came the words of the Father “Thou art my beloved Son.” Then in the desert came the words of the tempter, “If Thou be the Son of God.”
The life of Christ, during His earthly ministry is one of contrast; violence and grace; that He might win for us a grace born of violence; mercy purchased by the shedding of holy blood; innocence regained through the corruption of the Cross.
This is the paradox of grace; it is given freely to us, by the sacrifice of Christ!
The Cross is for us beauty because it at it redemption was won, but it is also a place or horrible shame; where the Son of the Most High allowed Himself to endure suffering and pain on our behalf; just as He allowed Himself to be tempted in the wilderness by the adversary, Satan.
The picture that we may have in our minds of Jesus being tempted by the enemy may be one of Jesus being dragged off to the wilderness to be tempted by the might of the Devil, but that it is not so.
The biblical portrayal of this event is one of Jesus being led off by the Spirit, the Bible says, into the desert for 40 days of fasting to be tempted by the Devil. God is sovereign and though He is at war with the Devil in a very real spiritual sense, He is not bound by the Devils decrees as though they are equals.
The devil is crafty, he is a beguiler, a liar, though he is shrewd and cunning; an enemy to be taken seriously. We see that He tempted Christ at a time of perceived weakness, after forty days of fasting he offered Jesus food. When he was weary, he offered him great prestige and power over earthly kingdoms.
It seems plain that the devil, at this point, didn’t fully understand who Jesus was; the prince of this earth offering the prince of peace, power; how absurd.
The devil, while he is the prince of this earth, as the Bible refers to him does not have all authority. His offer of power to Jesus belies his own arrogance and pride as he envies the power of God. To say that he had the power to give the kingdoms of the earth is a half-truth. God allows a measure of freedom the devil to test believers in the present age but God alone raises and destroys kingdoms.