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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS IS TEMPTED BY SATAN

Matt 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Mark 1:12-13a And immediately the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan.

Luke 4:1-2a And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil.

Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit. When? As Mark writes, it was immediately after the preceding event: the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, after which the heavens opened and God declared Jesus to be His Son. Looking at the three accounts, noted in the lesson texts, we see that Jesus was filled with the Holy Ghost (Luke); Jesus was compelled by the Holy Spirit of God, which driveth Him into the wilderness (Mark); Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew & Luke). All of these accounts tell us that Jesus was intentionally driven and led by the Holy Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, also referred to here as Satan. What was God's reason that His Son must be tempted by Satan? The Hebrew writer tells us. Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted (Heb. 2:17-18).

In His omnipotent wisdom, God considered it necessary for His Son to experience and understand all aspects of humanity in order for Jesus to be the Mediator of all mankind, just as the high priest was the mediator for the Jewish people. This was necessary for Jesus to experience human suffering in order to exercise mercy toward sinful men and women of the world. And in doing so, He must be faithful and true to His Heavenly Father. Fully understanding the nature of sin on earth, Jesus became the perfect atonement to reconcile sinful men and women with the righteous God of Heaven. Indeed, Jesus was destined from the beginning of time to be the atoning propitiation of all mankind. He was to pay the redeeming price, which would allow all people of the earth, if obedient to the will of God, to be freed from their sins and enjoy the hope of eternal salvation.

Here we find Jesus fulfilling His Heavenly Father's will by being lead into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. Although Mark does not give details of Jesus' temptations, both Matthew and Luke record the entire events in similar detail. For forty days He fasted and afterwards was hungry (Matt. 4:2; Luke 4:2). This gave Satan the occasion for his first temptation of Jesus. Realizing Jesus was hungry, Satan asked Him to prove that He was the Son of God. Tempting Jesus, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread (See Matt 4:3; Luke 4:3). Satan concedes that if Jesus was the Son of God, He could perform a miracle by turning stones into bread. Later in His ministry, Jesus performed many miracles as proof to be God's Son and the promised Messiah, the Christ. However, Jesus answers Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, which tells us that bread is only one of God's many provisions that sustains the physical life of mankind. In like manner, one quotation from God's word is not sufficient to sustain one's spiritual soul.

Seeing Jesus was not tempted with this, Satan took Jesus up into the holy city (Jerusalem), 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 (Matt 4:5-6; See Luke 4:9-11). In both Matthew and Luke we find Jesus answering Satan with God's holy word taken from Deuteronomy 6:16, which says, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. God forbids the taking one's life. Therefore, in this case the attempt to do so is forbidden, especially when you depend on God's hand to save you from such a perilous death. Although God promises to protect and provide for those faced with providential danger, yet He forbids anyone to provoke or try Him to by voluntarily placing themselves in danger and then seeking His protective hand. We, as followers of Christ, are forbidden to jump off a cliff, or in front of a locomotive, etc., and then, ask, and expect God to save us from death.

Still unable to tempt Jesus, Satan taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth 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 (Matt. 4:8-9; See Luke 4:5-7). We are not given the name of this mountain, however, we are told that it was an extremely high mountain that more than likely gave Jesus a panoramic view of, not only Jerusalem, but also the various cities and territorial kingdoms that surround it. Not all kingdoms of the world could possibly be seen from one mountain in Judea, but sufficient to portray the worldly nature of all kingdoms. All things of the world - the power, prestige, and glory of the ownership that it offers, were promised to Jesus if He would renounce His Heavenly Father by falling down before Satan and worship him. Again, Jesus quotes God's Holy Word from Deuteronomy 6:13, which forbids the worship of any other pagan god or idol, by saying that thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His name (Matt. 4:10; See Luke 4:8). God created all mankind; we belong exclusively to Him; He is a jealous God (Ex. 34:14; Deut. 5:9); He forbids His creation, to serve any other "god."

These temptations of Jesus by Satan demonstrate all sins of the world that result from giving in to sensual appetites, gratification of vain things of the world that we see, and egocentric pride that may be promoted by the selfish desire for worldly power, prestige, and glory. All temptations of the world that are glorified, promoted, and offered by Satan to men and women throughout their life on earth are summed up by the apostle John when he wrote, For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world (1 John 2:16).

Having failed in tempting Jesus Christ with all possible sins of this world, Then the devil leaveth Him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him (Matt. 4:11). The gospel account of Luke says that when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season (Luke 4:13). This is the example Jesus left all Christians: although we all, at times, give in to the sinfulness placed before us by the devil, we were given, by our Creator, the ability to overcome all temptations that we may face during our journey through life here on earth. We should, and we are able to, overcome all temptations of Satan. But this caution we are given: we may overcome Satan's temptation, but each time we do, be assured that Satan has only left us for a season - he will return with another sinful,worldly allurement.