Summary: This is the second of a series of sermons on the life of Christ. Today we look at His tempation - which follows His baptism and precedes the Sermon on the Mount.
Intro.: The Apostles Creed summarizes the life of Christ like this --
I believe in Jesus Christ, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
1. Yet, the life of Christ is so much more.
2. Today we begin to look at the life of Christ
3. I want to pick events that define Christ’s life - today the temptation
4. I know of no event in Christ’s life that more thoroughly defines Christ’s humanity than the fact that he faced temptation.
Read: Read Luke 4:1-13
1. We stand at the crossroads of Jesus life. He has just been baptized and as He comes out of the desert he will begin to gather his disciples together
2. Matthew makes it clear that the next major event in his life will be one of Jesus defining sermons- the Sermon on the Mount
3. And yet, first, he must face and deal with these three temptations
4. The story moves through three major phases that I am entitling:
I. Temptation’s Circumstances
A. Temptation is no respector of persons. Regardless of how close we are to God, temptation will come
B. The fact that Jesus was tempted is proof enough of that. In fact, though we only have this one incident recorded in the scriptures, it would appear that this is just the tip of the iceberg - scripture tells us that Jesus was in all ways tempted even as we are tempted. Basic principle - the closer we live to God, the more likely the attack of temptation
C. Like us, Jesus’ attack came when he was weak. He was in the midst of a 40 day fast. Luke hints that Satan’s attacks came regularly and consistently during Jesus’ time in the desert
D. Not only was he weak, he was alone. Do you want to face temptation - isolate yourself from other Christians. I, for years, have maintained a set of relationships with godly men that can hold me accountable.
E. Talk about a three strikes law Spiritually weak, physically weak, and isolated made Jesus a prime target for Satan’s onslaught.
II. Temptation’s Challenge
A. Jesus was ready to be tempted and Satan was ready to do the job.
B. Satan challenges Jesus at the very places he is most vulnerable:
* He is hungry - feed him
* He is powerless - give him power
* He is lonely - give him access to the angels
(Ill.) Philip Yancey, in his book, The Jesus I Never Knew, suggests that each temptation parallels the expectation of 1st century culture for the coming Messiah:
* A People’s Messiah - could feed the multitudes
* A Messiah who would be King - not just of Israel but of the whole world
* A Messiah who is rooted in the Law, would find his home at the place of sacrifice
Ironically, Jesus, ultimately, did play each of these roles. Not as a result of temptation, but as a result of being obedient to God
C. Which gives one more key point - What God expects of us at one point in time may not what he expects at another point of time - what he does expect is obedience at all times
D. Temptation is never easy. It was not easy for Jesus, it is not easy for us. Yet it part of being human.
E. Which is why we need to acknowledge that God provides a way through temptation. Let’s call it -
III. Temptation’s Cure
A. Temptation has a cost - whether we give into it or not
B. Of course God knows this - that is why he sent angels to Jesus
C. When we walk away from temptation without giving in - we know that it is done with only with the God’s spirit working in our lives
D. It seems obvious to me that part of Christ’s response to temptation was a thorough knowledge of scripture.
E. But God does not only use angels to minister to us - I mentioned earlier that there were wild animals present as he found himself in the wilderness. I am stepping out on a limb here - there is nothing in the text that suggests that these animals were threatening. They are mentioned in the same sentence as the angels. Might it be that the animals were part of God’s way of caring for Jesus
(Ill.) Let me illustrate it this way. I got up yesterday morning to do some shopping with my son. As I waited for him to get out of the shower, I looked out the front window. There sitting on the lawn were five or six morning doves on our driveway feeding off of the newly exposed grass at its edges. Over to the side I spotted a squirrel moving across the lawn. It only last a few minutes ¡V but God used those moments to draw me to himself.