Summary: A look at temptation of Christ and what we can learn about our temptation
Forty days, in the wilderness. Forty days, not four, not fourteen but forty. And all he took with him was what he was wearing. He wasn’t part of a tribe, had nobody to build an alliance with, it was just him, a rugged terrain and God. What did he eat? Did he hunt, or fish, he didn’t do either, because he didn’t eat. For forty days he fasted and prayed and at the end of that time he faced his immunity challenge, a challenge that would keep him in the game or send him home. It wasn’t seeing how long he could stay under water, or hold onto a post, it wasn’t even whether or not he would eat widgidee grubs and worms, that was so gross.
What did his immunity challenge involve? Check it out.
So, the question is: was Jesus really tempted? There are some who say that even though the temptation was real in the sense that it actually happened, that because Christ was 100% divine that he wouldn’t have given into the temptation. If that is the case then he wasn’t a 100% man and that’s part of the mystery of the incarnation. My own theory is yes the devil tempted Christ, and yes it was a tempation. It was at this point that Jesus would have to make a decision how he would do his work. God was saying “Take my love to the people of the world, love them, die for them if you have to, but conquer them with your unconquerable love.” Satan on the other hand was saying, “Take the power that you have and demand the submission of mankind, win the world through might and force.” And so Jesus had to decide that day, would he follow the way of God or the way of Satan. Would he win his immunity challenge, or would he give in and lose?
And it’s not just my opinion the Bible says Hebrews 2:17-18 Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. He then could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted.
Well we have the benefit of the book and we know that Jesus won His immunity challenge. And this morning we are going to look at what the story holds for us and how You can win your immunity challenge.
Every person here is tempted in one way or another, that’s part of being human. And every one of us will respond to temptation in only one of two ways. We’ll either give in or we won’t. It’s as simple as that. No in between, no ambiguity here, it’s either yes or no, win or lose. When I first became a believer my dad told me, “Sin is black or white, grey is just a colour of paint.” That might be a little simplistic but it certainly applies to temptation. It’s unfortunate that too many people’s strategy of dealing with temptation is easy, they simply give in and get on with. They are a lot like Oscar Wilde who said “I can resist everything except temptation.”
Let’s start this morning by looking at Three Challenges to Your Immunity. Earlier I said that we are all tempted in one way or another. And we are, and our temptations are all different, what tempts me may not tempt you. But there is a common thread that runs through all of our temptations. When I was in Bible College I took a course called Pastoral Management, and it was taught by Rev. Charles Grant. Charles told us as a class that in our ministry we would find ourselves tempted by one of three things, “The Gold, the glory or the girls.” I thought that was fairly original but it wasn’t really. A few years back a Wesleyan author by the name of Keith Drury wrote a book called Sex, power and money, and that was no more original than the gold, the glory or the girls.
1) Challenge of our Appetites Matthew 4:3 Then the Devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread.”
This one goes back a long way, to the very first temptation recorded in bible, right before Eve ate her family out of house and home. You remember the story, God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and they had complete freedom to do anything they wanted, except they could not eat from the tree of Knowledge. They could have cut it down and used it for fire wood and been done with temptation once and for all, but they didn’t. And when she was tempted listen to the direction the temptation went. Genesis 3:6 The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, . . .