Summary: Temptation how do we resist it, what part did Jesus play in making this possible, and what example has he set for us to follow?
There’s a cartoon that reads “how come opportunity knocks only once, but temptation beats the door down every day?”
Temptation, how often are we tempted in some situation to just give in. The human race does not have a great track record when it comes to temptation. This from Genesis 3:1-9.
An interesting sort of outcome to giving into temptation, the result was that the man and woman hid from God, the result is still in our shame often we hide from God. Some even believe that by denying His existence that sin does not exist, nothing to hide from, “its all tickity-boo, I can do what I want to do”. An interesting thing shame and dangerous if we don’t sort out our path to being in God’s will.
As we lead up to Easter we can look at the life of the one who was tempted but did not give into temptation. We also see that in his life Jesus was tempted and we also see that temptation is not sin; giving into temptation is. If it is outside the will of God t is sin.
The temptation of Jesus; what was that about then? How come he was lead by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil?
This comes down to qualification and it also comes down to Jesus pointing us to the way out of temptation when we are tempted.
1) Qualification: What is that all about? Jesus had to be tempted, He and was continually being tempted in His ministry. The devil spoke to Jesus through the word of Peter at Caesarea Philippi when Peter tried to talk Jesus out of going to the cross, Jesus reply to him was ”Satan, get behind me.” Another time Jesus said, “You are those who have stood by me in my trials…” (Luke 22:28). His trials included temptations.
The thing to remember here is that Jesus could have used his divinity to get him out of all sorts of situations but he didn’t, he had to be tempted as a man and over come those temptations, to show he was the Saviour, that he had been down that path of temptation that we all travel but he did not yield. Jesus was tempted as a man he suffered and died as a man but at the same time was God.
We have a doctrine that talks about this. The forth Salvation Army doctrine reads “We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.”
God understands how it is for us, he has been tempted, he has suffered pain, he has suffered rejection, insults, he’s cut his finger, scraped his knee, been given jip about his family background…he‘s been tempted to turn stones into bread, to leap off a tall building to prove his Fathers love for him, to have more earthly wealth than I can imagine and I can imagine quite a bit!
Jesus was shown to be perfect not just by His miracles, not just by His teaching but by His overcoming temptation…even to the stage where He could have called down legions of angels to save His suffering death on the cross, but He was willing to carry out his Fathers will…in suffering and dying as a man. He has been where we all must go and is the first fruits of all who will rise from the dead.
Jesus has the qualifications of a Saviour, no other who went before and no other who comes after fits that bill, He is Lord over sin and Lord over death, Jesus has beaten them both.
What can we learn from his temptation in the desert?
2) We see that Jesus was in a place of temptation as the devil was tempting him, and who won’t be tempted after forty days fasting to turn stones into bread?
We see the devil using the line “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”. This is goading a little like we would say in a moment of peer pressure, “you say you’re this, prove it if you’re not chicken.”
But rather than give into the temptation Jesus quotes scripture/: Deuteronomy 8:3 says this; “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
Interestingly Moses spoke the words to the nation of Israel about hunger and the Lords provision with manna, after Jesus temptation God provided angels to attend to him.
A) The lesson from verses 1 to 4 are two fold: (1) We need the word of God, in the form of scripture, as well as when we see his word at action in our lives and (2) It is the good having physical sustenance but we also need to be sustained spiritually and only God can provide spiritual sustenance.