Scripture Reading: Numbers 11:4-13:25 / Luke 3:23-4:13 / Proverbs 7:21-27
Everyone struggles with temptation. A husband knew his wife always bought a dress when she went shopping…she couldn’t resist. He talked to her about the weakness and she agreed it was a problem. Her husband suggested, “Just resist the impulse and like Jesus, say “Satan, get behind me.” She left determined to overcome but a few hours later she returned with a new dress. When her husband questioned the dress, she said, “I put it on and it was priced just right, looked so nice, fit so well and then I remembered what you suggested. I said, “Satan, get behind me!” It was then I heard, “The dress looks real nice from back here too.” So I bought it.”
Even though that story is humorous, temptation is not to be considered light or inconsequential. Temptation is an enticement or an invitation to sin, promising fulfillment by following the way of disobedience. Jesus is familiar with temptation, “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. (Luke 4:1,2)
Christ was tempted for us…”For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) As Adam was tested in the garden, Jesus was tested in the wilderness. Adam was tempted in the midst of paradise, Jesus in a wild Judean desert, alone and unarmed against beasts and nature. He withstood a greater onslaught of temptation than we will ever face yet He didn’t relent to sin.
Jesus was tempted to satisfy His natural hunger as He fasted forty days. The temptation was to use His divine power to turn stones into bread. Satan appealed to a legitimate desire within Jesus but to meet that need in an illegitimate way by breaking the fast and sinning. “It is written: Man does not live by bread alone.” (vs.4) As God supplied manna for the Israelites in their wilderness, Jesus waited on God to supply his physical needs. The eternal always takes care of the temporal.
All of the kingdoms of this world were promised to Jesus if He would bow down and worship satan. God gave man dominion over the earth and man forfeited that authority to the devil. The temptation was for Christ to gain the kingdoms of this world without going to the cross, avoiding suffering and pain. Satan attempted to destroy Christ’s mission because Jesus was about to destroy satan’s power.
Finally, satan tempted Jesus to jump from the summit of the temple and have His heavenly Father miraculously protect Him. The devil used scripture for this last temptation yet misused God’s Word and took it out of context. Jesus again quieted satan by quoting scripture, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” (vs.12) Every temptation Jesus faced, He resisted and defeated it by God’s Word. The next time the devil throws temptation your way, either from behind or in front, throw the Word of Truth at him…it will take him out every time!