Summary: Jesus temptation in the wildness.
The Temptation of Jesus
When we look at the temptation of Jesus we sometimes say some very silly things. It is like we are so uncomfortable with the fact that Jesus resisted sin that we have to reason away His humanity to explain how He did it. Certainly if Jesus really was fully human He wouldn’t have been able to resist sin so we blame His ability to stand in the face of temptation on His being God. Hebrews 2 tells us that Jesus was made like us in every way and that He was tempted. Luke 4:13 tells us when the devil had tempted Jesus in EVERY way he left. Jesus experienced every temptation that we do and He did so as a man and without sinning.
Some people say because Jesus never really sinned that He doesn’t know how enticing it is, He doesn’t fully understand temptation because He never gave in to it. Let me ask you this: if two people were running a marathon which one of them appreciates how far a 26 mile run is, the one who makes it half way and quits or the one who finishes the race? It is the one who can complete the run that truly appreciates how far it is. That is Jesus, He finished the race without giving in to temptation and so He understands temptation better than we do. Because the longer you go without giving in the stronger temptation gets. How can we learn to resist the temptation of the enemy?
If you look back a Genesis 3:1 where we see the fall of man we see there are some similar themes between the temptation of Adam and the temptation of Jesus. Adam brought sin into the world and Jesus comes and shows us how to get sin out.
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Ge 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, Ge 3:3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” Ge 3:4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. Ge 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
He starts off with a question: did God really say? Now look at what he says to Jesus: “if you really are the Son of God…” He starts off by challenging you where you are. He tries to shake the foundation of who we are and what we believe so that he can lead us astray. He will question your identity as a child of God to try to get you to do things that are not Godly.
He will say things like: “Are you sure? If you really were a child of God, if you really belonged to Him, then shouldn’t this life be easier?” Satan challenges your identity so he can destroy your life. Satan starts with baiting us with a challenge. If he can get you to believe it, to fall into his trap then he can destroy you.
Adam and Eve had lived according to what God said. Satan came along and questioned that lifestyle. He starts off with his deceit “you will not surely die” he sets the trap and they fall into it. There are three ways in which Satan tempted Adam and Eve: with the lust of the eyes: Eve saw the fruit was pleasing to the eye, the lust of the flesh the fruit was good for food, and the boastful pride of life, the fruit was desirable for gaining wisdom. These are the same three tools he uses against Jesus in Luke 4.
Could Jesus have done the things the devil asked Him to do? Yes. The devil tempts Jesus with the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful bride of life to misuse His divine power. Jesus never used His divinity for His own personal benefit. He used miracles to help others not Himself. Satan offers Jesus an easy way out. Jesus knows the road ahead will be long and full of suffering. He knows the hardships and trials will come and ultimately the pain of the cross and separation from God. Satan offers Jesus an alternative, a way of becoming Messiah without having to suffer. If Jesus will compromise here, if He will use His using divine power for His own personal comfort then how will He resist using His divine power to stop the pain of the cross?