Summary: Even before Internet pornography, rampant materialism, and on-line gambling, there was temptation. Even Jesus faced it, and in studying His example, we can learn a lot about being victors.
THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS
Scripture: Mark 1:12–13 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
Even before Internet pornography, rampant materialism, and on-line gambling, there was temptation.
Even Jesus faced it, and in studying His example, we can learn a lot about being victors.
In Matthew 4, we have a much longer account of the temptation of Christ, but Mark, known for his brevity, gives us three phrases that will suffice for today’s study.
1. Christ Was Led by the Spirit. The word led or sent does not convey the idea of gentle guidance.
It is a very forceful verb that literally meant to drive someone out. This word was later used for Jesus driving out demons.
When Satan came to Adam and Eve, he took the initiative, resulting in sin entering the human race; but in this story, Jesus deliberately, under the power of the Spirit, went forth to confront Satan, resulting in victory being made available to the human race.
What does this teach us? (1) Living a life that pleases God does not exempt us from temptation. No sooner had God said, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” than we read, “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.” (2) Being led by the Spirit doesn’t exempt us from temptation.
None of us are exempt.
As long as we’re in this body of flesh, we’re going to struggle.
The good news is that if we allow the Spirit to lead us, He will empower us to overcome temptation (Gal. 5:16).
2. He Was Tempted by Satan.
The word tempted has two ideas: An attraction toward sin, and a test or trial.
In this case, it was temptation toward sin.
Suppose you were given the assignment to expose someone to the temptations of Satan in their most potent form.
Where would you take that person? Las Vegas? Hollywood?
In the ancient world, the place would have been the city of Corinth, a pagan place full of sensuality and materialism.
But the devil took Christ to the desert—no people, no buildings, no activity.
My problem with temptation is not the attractive stuff around me; it is a heart problem. My problem is my own evil desire.
3. Christ Was Strengthened by the Angels. Jesus was led by the Spirit and tempted by Satan, but He was not abandoned by God.
Perhaps the angels did for Jesus what they had done for Elijah, bringing him bread and water.
Somehow they took care of Him.
We may wonder if God really cares about our struggles.
Yes, He cares and He provides all the assistance we need to be victors over temptation, trials, and troubles.
Jesus was in all points tempted just like us, though without sin.
He responded to Satan three times, saying: It is written, It is written, It is written. He had committed God’s Word to memory, and in the face of temptation He responded with Scripture.
We need to be filled with the Scripture and with the Spirit day by day, moment by moment.
The Bible is our offensive weapon against Satan, the sword of the Spirit. Even in our modern age of technology, we’ll never face any temptation that isn’t addressed in the Bible.
There are verses for every challenge we’ll ever face, and we need to find and memorize the verses we’re apt to need along the way.
In this way, God provides the resources we need to counter temptation.
He doesn’t abandon us. He always provides a divinely-planned exit (1 Cor. 10:13).
And if God provides a way of escape, we don’t have to give in to sin. Strengthened by His Word and filled with His Spirit, we have the ability to remain self-controlled, and to say “No,” to the devil’s allurement (Titus 2:11–14).
Think about the area of temptation with which you are struggling. Talk to God about it, and yield that area to the control of the Spirit.
Ask Him to help you, through His Spirit, to take the way of escape.