Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God,tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “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]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “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 Was temoted Like Us
Jesus is a man. Jesus is God. Being God didn’t make him less human. This is important. It means that Jesus becomes our model for how life should have been without the fall. As a second Adam, Jesus redeems us, but he also models for us how a life is best lived. When he is tempted by Satan in the desert, the temptation is real. His flesh wants food, he could wow the crowds and become popular in an instant, he could rule the world without having to endure the cross. He resists it all. He models how we can too.
Firstly, being led to the testing grounds by The Holy Spirit means that Jesus knows there is purpose in his being there. As he and the Holy Spirit commune, he knows that what Satan uses as temptation, God allows as testing. Any testing allowed by God can be endured. You have not been tested in ways that the Holy Spirit and you can not handle together.
Secondly, Jesus’ heart, soul, and mind are focused on the life that God has laid out for him. He sees his whole life as one that needs to be lived in harmony with his calling. This was true as a carpenter, now that he will be a ‘minister’ it is just as true.
Thirdly, he has committed God’s word, the scriptures, to memory. Jesus has studied the Bible so that its words are readily available. He has only learned the Old Testament and he knows it well. We have two testaments to learn. This is not a chore. It makes us strong.
Finally, Jesus knows that temptation comes from lies that we are prone to believe. From little lies like, “I need chocolate” to ever more destructive lies like, “I need to walk away from my family, it’s too much.”
Jesus was not born knowing everything. He had emptied himself of that aspect of Godhood. He did what you and I have to do. He was obedient to his earthly parents as they modeled a Jewish worldview for him. He studied torah and set time apart for prayer. He fasted and focused his energies on the task God had for him. In the Holy Spirit we can do likewise. No-one has to sin and fall short – we just choose to. We can choose to stop.
- What three things did Satan tempt Jesus to do?
- What bigger issues do you think these three temptations presented to Jesus?
- How did relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Father play a role in the testing of Jesus?
- What are things that regularly tempt you?
- How can Jesus’ temptation narrative provide a model for you to resist the devil and pursue God more healthily?