Summary: Jesus provides us with an assurance that we are capable of resisting temptation. And by overcoming temptation, we emerge strengthened in our spirit.
Title: The Temptation of Jesus
Bible Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
The subject today is the temptation of Jesus, as found in Matthew 4:1-11.
Verse 1 says, “Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil.”
The word “temptation” is sometimes used to imply a test or trial or it can mean to allure, entice, and lead into evil.
Examples are found in the Old and New Testaments:
Genesis 22:1 tells us: “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham”; the RSV puts it this way, “After these things God tested Abraham.”
Matthew 22:18 says; “Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?”; the RSV translates it, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?”
Matthew 22:35 asserts; “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him”; the RSV has “And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, to test him.”
Every person is tempted by someone or something, at some point in their life!
Even Jesus was tempted according to Hebrews 2:18 where it says: “Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.”
His example, however, provides us with an assurance that we are capable of resisting temptation.
And by overcoming temptation, we emerge strengthened in our spirit.
Temptation is an “enticement to sin” that arises from human desires and passions.
Enticement may also be from the devil, which is called “the tempter” in Matthew 4:3.
The Bible states explicitly that God does not tempt us, but He does allow us to be tested by circumstances and by the devil so that faith might grow.
Furthermore, the Lord promises to provide a “way of escape” so that we are not tempted beyond what we are able to bear.
James said that when the tempter’s influence is resisted, he must flee.
Satan’s strategy for temptation is clearly evident in his dealings with Eve:
First, he questions God’s Word.
Second, he contradicts God by not telling the whole truth.
Third, he distorts and misquotes God’s Word.
These same strategies were at work in Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.
The Bible promises that those who withstand life’s temptations will receive “the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
There is no sin in being tempted; since Jesus who was perfect in every way "…was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," .
Christ is able to understand our weaknesses, since He Himself has experienced the very same things.
No one can truly sympathize with someone else unless he has been through a similar experience himself.
As a Man our Lord has shared our experiences and can therefore understand the testing which we endure.
However, He can’t sympathize with our wrongdoing, because He never experienced it.
He was tempted in every respect as we are, and yet He never sinned.