The Temptation of Christ Jesus
Matthew 4:1 “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”
Jesus was “led up of the Spirit”. This temptation, then, was God’s Plan and Purpose for His Son.
He was in all points tempted, like as we are, the writer to the Hebrews revealed. (Hebrews 4:15)
So this temptation shows us how to act when we, too, are tempted.
First, notice that our hardest temptations come after we have gotten more Spiritual power and grace.
Jesus had just been baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit had come down upon Him without measure, as He came up from the water. A Voice had announced that Jesus was God’s Beloved Son! And that He was well pleasing in God’s sight!
But then He was tempted.
Matthew 4:2-4 “And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live be bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Jesus was hungry. He had been fasting for forty days, and nights; so when He could, He wanted to break the fast by food.
But when tempted by the devil to change stones into bread, so He could satisfy His hunger, and prove that He was the Son of God; Jesus refused.
But He did not just say “No”, but rebuked the suggestion by quoting “It is written”.
What the Scriptures say, help us to live aright.
The suggestion of the devil, was that because Jesus was the Son of God, He could do what ever He wanted, have whatever He wanted, whenever He wanted, by simply commanding it to be so.
Of course Jesus could, but that was not why He became man. It was ever to do the Father’s Will, that He came, and that was what He lived and died by.
So should we do the Father’s Will for us. It puts us in the wonderful position of being able to stand back from suggestions and plans, and seeking His Will in everything.
That puts temptations in a new light. It is not: “You want this, it is not too awful, why not do it?”
It is: “Is this what the Lord would have me to do, now?”
Notice this first temptation was for bodily wants.
Matthew 4:5-7 “And the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.
And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
Jesus had quoted Scripture, so now the devil quotes it. Again he says, “If thou be the Son of God”.
Here the temptation is for public announcement. Cast yourself down from the pinnacle of the temple. What a better way to prove the fact that You are the Son of God!
And it is said in the Scriptures, so God will have to do it.
For God would certainly do it, and those that saw it, might have been awed into following Jesus for awhile, because of it.
But that is not true believing. It would have been useless, for the heart will only follow what it loves.
And awe is not love.
But Jesus refused it, for it was not the Father’s Way of announcement. His Way was for Jesus to go about preaching, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. He was to do good to all. (Matthew 4:17)
Certainly it was not as exciting as angels catching Him. But it was what God wanted.
The devil’s suggestion was just tempting God; and Jesus refused it and quoted that Scripture: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
(To tempt God is to make God prove Himself or His Word, by demanding that He do something for us, now. Do this, or we won’t trust You.)
This second temptation had been for Fame, and prestige. He would be Famous, everyone would know He was the Son of God!
How often we get trapped into “seeking” these.
Matthew 4:8-10 “Again, the devil taketh him up unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them:
And saith unto him; All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
The saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
The temptation here is: Forget the path to the cross. If You will fall down and worship me, You can have all the kingdoms and the power of them…now; without the suffering and shameful death of the cross.
This was the devil’s attempt to destroy Who Jesus was: “I will give you all I have, to make God finally submit to me, in the person of His Son.”
Of course Jesus would refuse this:
But after this final suggestion, Jesus commands the devil to depart; quoting the verse, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”
Jesus would do all the Father’s Will. And He was confident that those kingdoms would be His, God’s Way; and that was through the suffering of the cross, to resurrection and glory.
The third temptation was for personal power, and glory; without suffering.
And does not the devil tempt us in the same ways:
1)See to your needs first. Yes, your a Christian, but God has not “forbidden” you to do this, so He probably doesn’t care.
2)If you are going to have a ministry for God, make it flashy. People will remember you. They will admire you. They will think you are great! (There is a whole lot of “you” in that “ministry”)
3)If you will just go along with the world, you could skip a whole lot of trouble. Sure, you can look like a Christian, but you don’t have to walk in that “narrow”way.
In other words, “Go ahead, lose your Christ’s Life, to have your self life”. (Matthew 16:25)
These, and others like them, are the things the devil tempts us with (For he tempted our Lord the same way.)
Looking to the Father’s Will, Jesus went through these temptations, standing on the Word of God. Jesus left the place of temptation by placing Himself in the Father’s hands by the Word of God.
He did all the work the Father had for Him, and finished it.
So we need to look to Jesus, and go through all He has purposed for us, with Him.
He will empower us, to the measure of our devotion and obedience, by the Holy Spirit to know and to do His Will.