Saturday, June 8, 2013

Temptation Part 1

Matthew 4:1-11
New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]
Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Jesus’ temptations follow three patterns that are common to all men. The first temptation concerns the lusts of the flesh (Matthew 4:3-4). Our Lord is hungry and the devil tempts Him to convert stones into bread, but He replies with Scripture, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. The second temptation concerns the pride of life (Matthew 4:5-7), and here the devil uses a verse of Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12), but the Lord replies again with Scripture to the contrary (Deuteronomy 6:16), stating that it is wrong for Him to abuse His own powers. The third temptation concerns the lusts of the eyes (Matthew 4:8-10), and if any quick route to the Messiahship could be attained, bypassing the passion and crucifixion for which He had originally come, this was the way. The devil already had control over the kingdoms of the world (Ephesians 2:2) but was now ready to give everything to Christ in return for His allegiance. But the mere thought almost causes the Lord’s divine nature to shudder at such a concept and He replies sharply, “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only” (Deuteronomy 6:13).

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There are many temptations that we sadly fall into because our flesh is naturally weak, but we have a God who will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear; He will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can therefore be victorious and then will thank the Lord for deliverance from temptation. Jesus’ experience in the desert helps us to see these common temptations that keep us from serving God effectively. Furthermore, we learn from Jesus’ response to the temptations exactly how we are to respond—with Scripture. The forces of evil come to us with a myriad of temptations, but all have the same three things at their core: lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. We can only recognize and combat these temptations by saturating our hearts and minds with the Truth. The armour of a Christian solider in the spiritual battle of life includes only one offensive weapon, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Knowing the Bible intimately will put the Sword in our hands and enable us to be victorious over temptations.
Our Lord’s human nature enables Him to sympathize with our own weaknesses, just as He was subjected to weakness, too. More importantly, we have a High Priest who is able to intercede on our behalf and provide the grace of forgiveness.
One of Satan's biggest tricks is to try and confuse you about who you are, and whose you are.
Satan will wait until you are at your weakest point in life and then come to you with questions about your life... your calling... and your ability to do for God the Father.

You must know that you have been given the power to become a son of God... Just as Jesus was his son in whom God was WELL PLEASED.

Deut 8:2-3: “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands"

We all go through wilderness experiences in our Christian walk. It can be very exhausting and draining. It deprives us of all the comforts that we may usually enjoy. It tests the deepest secrets and convictions of our heart to test what lies in our heart. We may have just gone through the greatest highs of our walk with God. Next, we find ourselves in the spiritual turmoil
 or wilderness. During these times of testing, we need to put our complete trust in the Lord

Three Temptations of Jesus Christ:

  • It seems that Satan had quite faulty logic! The first two temptations of Jesus were about proving Jesus being the ‘Son of God’.
    • “If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”.
    • “If You are the Son of God, throw yourself down…”
  • Son of God does not need bread to live on or need to worry about injury!
  • Satan insisted on proofs about Jesus’ divinity, but Jesus reminded him of his humanity.
  • Jesus had experienced God’s voice at his baptism. “This is my Son, whom I love, with him, I am well pleased. (Mat 3:17) The Devil came and first attacked this very claim. He tried to create doubts about God’s voice.
  • All of Jesus’ answers started with “It is Written”! He may be saying, that “God’s word is final, and I do not need to test it or prove it.”
  • We are often confronted with similar situations. And Devil comes and whispers in our ears, he creates doubts about God’s promises – “Does he really care about you? Is he really listening to your prayers?” We need to remember that ‘It is written’, God has promised us and his Words are final and sufficient.

Q. How did Jesus answer to Satan’s temptations?

First Temptation:

  • “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
  • Jesus referred to Deut 8:2-3. Jesus pointed out that life is not just about the physical needs, there is more to it.
  • We have botj physical and spiritual needs. And only God can satisfy our spiritual hunger. (Beatitudes: Bless of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness)
  • What is the source of your life? What is the place of God’s Word in your life? Is it just one of the things that you do or read or is it the source of your life?

Second Temptation:

  • Second time, Satan came up with even better idea.
  • He took Jesus to the Holy city, Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the Temple. Satan asked Jesus to throw himself down. If the Angels protected him from being striking against stones, now not only him (Devil), but all people in the temple will also be convinced that He is the Son of God. (Great plan, isn’t it!)
  • The Devil, this time, used the word of God to prove his point.
  • The Devil knows the Word of God, he can use it, twist it, misinterpret it and present it in such a way which is contrary to the will of God.
  • Today, we see many people being fallen away by misinterpretation of the Word of God. The key aspect of Satan’s argument was and is the use of the word of God out of context.
  • The second temptation at its core, is about testing God and testing His Words.
  • Rightly so, Jesus reminded Satan, that “It is also written, do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

Third Temptation:

  • The final temptation brought the innermost desire of Satan, “to become God”. He wants to be worshiped as God. He burns with the desire of being like God. And He offers the biggest lie to all who follows him, that they can be also God. (Gen 3:4)
  • How often have we seen Rulers, Kings or Emperors of the mighty kingdoms at their peak, want to be worshiped as ‘God’! Unfortunately, it can only lead to self-destruction.
  • Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the World and their splendor. In those days, Roman Empire rules the majority of known world. Their power and glory were incomparable. But it fell eventually and now we see nothing but the ruins.
  • Jesus however, promises ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (Mat 4:17), he does not offer temporary kingdom but Eternal Kingdom.
  • The Devil’s proposal was a direct breaking of the first commandment. “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them..” (Exodus 20:3-4)
  • Jesus in his reply, quoted the first commandment. (By this time, Jesus would have said, “enough, you are crossing the line!”)
  • He commanded Satan to go away. and Satan immediately left him!
In all three answers, Jesus insisted on the ‘written’ word of God. Today, we have so much resources available related to the ‘Word of God’, that sometimes we are distracted from ‘the Word’. There is no alternative to the study and meditation of the Word of God daily. If Jesus learnt and used the God’s word, how much more do we should!

1 comment:

  1. Please note: that this is not my writing but research I found on a topic that God is laying on my heart.. Part 11 will be a continue version of my own temptations that I have experienced these last few weeks!!!