Summary: The purpose of Matthew’s recounting this event is to demonstrate the pattern of Jesus’ victory over temptation & sin. When we face testing & temptation we too can be victorious over the adversary’s attempts to corrupt us & to usurp the Lord’s rightful pla
MATTHEW 4: 1-11
WHEN JESUS WAS TEMPTED
A husband took his young daughter to the grocery store to help him buy groceries. In addition to the healthy items on his wife’s carefully prepared list, the two of them returned home with one of those big bags of M&Ms.
His wife said "Why did you buy this?" his wife asked. "You know M&Ms aren’t good for you!"
The husband said "don’t worry, honey, this bag of M&Ms has one-third less calories than usual."
The wife looks over the package. She says, "What makes you think that there are one-third less calories than usual?"
The husband says "Well, we ate about a third of the bag on the way home, so there’s one-third less calories than usual!"
How many of you have heard the expression “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak?” We all have areas in our lives where the flesh is weak.
Since the Fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, temptation has been a constant, unrelenting part of human life. Men have tried to avoid, resist or ignore it. But no person has ever found a place or a circumstance that can make him safe from temptation.
In Matthew 4:1–11 one of the most monumental and mysterious spiritual battles of all time is recounted-the personal confrontation between Jesus Christ and Satan. The devil’s temptations directed at Jesus in the wilderness (of Judea) were observed by no other human being. He was entirely alone, and it is therefore obvious that we could know nothing of what transpired there unless Jesus Himself had told His disciples of it. He does so to reveal to us the victory secret of His momentous struggle with Satan.
The encounter with Satan occurred immediately after Jesus’ baptism, where The Father proclaimed out of heaven, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (3:17). When God speaks to you, Satan strikes at you. When God fills you, the devil fights you! Our text demonstrates why Jesus was well-pleasing to His Father. Jesus listened to His Father’s Word and applied His Word to His daily life.
The purpose Matthew’s recounting this event is to demonstrate the pattern of Jesus’ victory over temptation and sin, a pattern that Jesus longs to share with all who belong to Him. When we face testing and temptation we too can be victorious over the adversary’s attempts to corrupt us and to usurp the Lord’s rightful place in our lives. May we too look at this passage and learn how to stand strong in time of battle and find the same victory Jesus found over the enemy of our soul.
The momentous encounter that Matthew here describes, and from which believers can gain such help and encouragement, may be divided into three parts for our study: the preparation, the temptation, and the triumph.
I. THE PREPARATION, 1-2.
The goal and aim of all believers is to please God. We all would love to hear that our life is pleasing to God. But it caused a showdown in the desert, between good and evil, between light and darkness, between obedience and disobedience, between Jesus and Satan, and it will cause the same in us. Satan wants to test, try, and devour all those who are pleasing God in any way, at any level. Jesus had the testimony of Enoch, "that he pleased God," but His commitment is about to be tested as we see in verse 1. “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
One of the truths of life, from which even the Son of God was not exempt on earth, is that after victory comes temptation. At times of success we can let down our guard and temptations can take us unprepared. After the victory of Jesus’ baptism comes His testing in the wilderness.
The devil’s purpose is to frustrate the plan of God and to usurp the place of God. Yet God often uses Satan’s tempting to evil as His own means of testing for good. What Satan intended to lead the Son into sin and disobedience, the Father used to demonstrate the Son’s holiness and worthiness. That is God’s plan for all of His children. Christians cannot be tempted in a way that God cannot use for their good and His glory. [James even tells us to “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials [peirasmos], knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2–4).] God’s plan and purpose is to use Satan’s temptations as a means of testing and strengthening our faith in Him and as a means of our growing stronger in righteousness. God allows testings in our lives in order that our spiritual “muscles” may be exercised and strengthened. Whether it is a testing by God’s initiative or a temptation sent by Satan, God will always use it to produce good in us when we meet the test in His power.