Summary: “Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘if you are the Son of God throw yourself down from here…’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘it has been said, ‘you shall not tempt the Lord your God’” Luke 4:9-
Theme: You must not put the Lord your God to the test
Text: Deut. 26:4-10; Rom. 10:8-13; Lk. 4:1-13
Today is the second Sunday in Lent and we at Covenant have been observing this holy season by meditating and reflecting on the Word of God and by prayer and fasting. It is following the example of Christ to prepare us deal effectively with the temptations of the devil. The Devil made me do it appears to be a very convenient excuse or defence all around the world when caught doing something we are not supposed to do. The story is told of a woman who used the family savings to buy a very expensive dress. She told her husband about it saying how sorry she was and that it was the devil that made her do it. The husband not understanding how she could be so extravagant when they had such little money asked, “Why didn’t you just say to him get behind me Satan?” The woman replied, “I did and he told me that it looked even better from the back”. Just as we may laugh at this there have been many reports in our papers of laughter in the courts when the accused person pleads ‘the devil made me do it.’ There is, however, one problem: the Devil cannot make us do anything. He may appear to be clever but he does not have the power to force us to do anything. This is the reason why he has to rely on different tricks and strategies to get us to do what he wants. He always uses the type of bait that fits the person and the situation. Satan knows people in a way that a skilled angler knows fish. He studies our habits and observes where and how we spend our time. Then he prepares suitable bait and drops it right in front of us. He cannot force us to bite but the bait, by appealing to our fleshly nature, begins a struggle within us. Our conscience immediately warns of the danger and the consequences of yielding to the temptation but the decision is left to us. Very often the bait is something we see or hear as happened in the case of Jesus and in the case of Adam and Eve. Luke in narrating the temptations of Jesus begins by first tracing His genealogy all the way to Adam and Eve and thus links the two temptations. Where Adam failed, Jesus would succeed. Where sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, one man would bring salvation and eternal life. If Satan were to defeat Christ as well then there would be no hope of redemption for the human race and death would have been victorious. But he failed because Jesus depended totally on God. His trust was so total that it was not necessary for Him to put God to the test. Our trust should be the same. You must not put the Lord your God to the test.
The temptations of Jesus Christ in today’s Scripture Reading reveal Him as the promised Messiah. They come straight after His baptism and after the Holy Spirit had descended on Him and He was identified as God’s beloved Son. These temptations were specific to Him and His role as the Saviour of the world as only He was capable of turning stones into bread. He would not do anything to please the devil but later on He would feed 5000 men with five loaves and two fish to glorify God. It was as though Jesus was being tested to see whether He could totally rely on God and whether He is worthy of the role of the Messiah. Jesus Christ is often referred to in Scripture as the Second Adam and by overcoming these temptations proves that He is worthy of that title. He resisted all the temptations and succeeded where Adam failed. God used the hostility of the devil to Jesus’ ministry to show not only who Jesus is, but also the kind of ministry that he had come to fulfil - the ministry of freeing mankind from slavery to sin by overcoming the devil.