The temptation of Jesus
Scripture reading: Genesis 39
Today we are beginning a brand new series in the Book of Matthew
As I was reading Matthew 1-5 this week I couldn't help notice how everything about Jesus'
conception,birth, escape to Egypt, his growing up in Galilee, His baptism, etc all had to do
with prophecy being fulfilled (prophecies you and I have just spent the last 3 years reading)
Another observation: The O.T spends it's time pointing forward to Jesus. The New Testament,
in turn, points back to the Old Testament showing us how it is fulfilled. Hence, once again we
see how the Bible is in complete unity.
For our first lesson from the Book of Matthew, I want to walk through Matthew 4:1-11 with
you. In this particular passage Jesus is tempted by Devil. From these temptations Jesus
emerges victorious, setting for us an example of how we are to handle the temptations that
come our way
READ Matthew 3:16-4:11
LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, AND OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEXT
1. Matthew 4:1-11 reminds us that in Satan we have an enemy
In Satan we have an enemy who looks nothing like the Devil pictures we imagine. Rather he
appears as an angel of light. So instead we should imagine one who looks angelic and who
has a smooth tongue-- but being filled with evil
-Satan is not a figment of someones imagination
-Satan is a fallen angel (see Ezekiel 28:11-19; Isaiah 14:12-15)
-He is called the Father of lies (John 8:44). He is a murder. He is a deceiver. He hates you
and all people. Presently he makes war against the saints. He is a master of making evil and
what displeases God, look good and attractive and right.
-His power is limited, His time is short
-He is a defeated foe
-The Bible tells us to resist him and he will flee from us-- James 4:7
-In Ephesians 6 we are exhorted to put on the armor of God-- that we might stand up against
-Satan is the one who tempts people. God never does. James 1:13 says; "When tempted, no
one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt
An interesting point to consider:
Satan must first obtain God's permission before he afflicts a person. This does not make God
the author of evil or culpable, what it does demonstrate is that Satan is under God's
dominion. Consider Job 1 and Luke 22:31-32 wherein Jesus says to Peter "Simon, Simon,
Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may
not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
2. Jesus' temptation in the desert hearkens back to Adam and Eve's temptation in
the Garden of Eden
In 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 it says of Christ; "So it is written: "The first man Adam became a
living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the
natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second
man from heaven.
As the second Adam the scene of the first temptation is re enacted (instead of Adam its Jesus.
Instead of a lush garden, it's a desert and yet there is Satan using his same old tricks--
twisting God's Word, depicting God the Father as somehow withholding His best, calling into
question the goodness of God, making promises that he cannot keep)
The key difference: Whereas Adam disobeyed God and brought upon himself and all humanity
the penalty of death, Jesus emerges obedient to the Father, triumphant, sinless, qualified to
act as our Savior- demonstrating that it is possible to have victory over Sin and Satan.
3. It was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus into the desert to be tempted v.1
A few things:
i. Jesus' ministry, prophesied by Isaiah, was a Spirit led, Spirit directed, Spirit empowered
ministry. He spoke by the direction of the Holy Spirit, healed by the power of the Spirit, went
to various places by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The same Holy Spirit- the Spirit of Christ- indwells us.
ii. A good question to ask is "Why did the Holy Spirit lead Jesus into the desert to be
-To "fulfill all righteousness" see Matthew 3:15 (I believe the same answer applies)
-That Jesus might show forth his perfect holiness
-That Jesus might show that victory over Satan is possible- even when one is at the weakest
physically and mentally***
-The complete answers are found in the Book of Hebrews.
Hebrews 2:14-18 tells us why the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted;
saying; "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by
his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil- and free
those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels
he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in
every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to
God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself
suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 4:14-16 also tells us why the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted,
saying; "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high
priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been
tempted in every way, just as we are-yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of
grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of
4. While in the desert Jesus faced 3 temptations
a. If you are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread
b. If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, that the angels may catch you
c. Worship me and I will give you all the kingdoms of the world and their wealth
Satan's temptations: How he operates
a. To doubt the goodness, care, love, and provision of God
b. To test God
c. Involves Scripture twisting and twisted logic. Note: There are many who distort the
Scriptures to their ends. We must be on guard against them. i.e Those who say that the Bible
says nothing about homosexuality being wicked - which is one amongst many sins that the
Bible speaks against (yet note Romans 1, Leviticus 20, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
d. Features short cuts i.e You can have sex now (you in a loving relationship), you can get
rich quick (just lie a little, take that job, do ....) "You don't have to put up with that, take
things into your own hands"
e. Multi sensory-- appealing to the eyes, ones desires, ones senses
f. Appeals to pride and self sufficiency
g. All about giving worship to himself
h. Somehow they all seem to boil down to temptations of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the
eyes, and the pride of life/ambition (I John 2:16)
5. The Scriptures: The key to victory over temptation
As it regarded Satan's temptations, in each instance Jesus, knowing the Scriptures and their
proper application, responded to Satan with the Word.
Do you know your Bible? Are you taking time to memorize parts of it? Are you reading and
meditating upon it regularly?
"Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you" Psalm 119:11
6. Jesus' response to Satan's temptations are very instructive
i. Trust God and His Word-- He cares for you. He loves you. Wait upon Him. His Word will not
ii. Don't test God -- Don't provoke God. Don't be reckless. Don't expect God to bail you out of
your foolishness. Don't set up scenarios for God to prove Himself to you
iii. Worship God alone
7. Further thoughts on the temptations that Jesus faced
a. They were real-- Jesus was fully God/fully man
b. His victory over these and all the temptations that He faced, qualified him to die on the
cross as the once for all perfect sacrifice for sin
c. Jesus' facing Satan's temptations when he was at his weakest shows us that it is possible
to have victory over sin, Satan, and temptation, even when we are at our weakest
8. Common temptations that we face
To lie, cheat, steal, have sex outside of marriage, to be disrespectful, to be proud, to hold
grudges, to not forgive, to rationalize our behavior, to not rely on God, to give up on God
and our faith, to neglect the good that we should do, etc
9. How are you managing as it regards temptation?
Are you resisting?
Are you being careful as to what you watch, where you go, who who keep company with,
what you listen to?
Are you guarding your heart?
Do you have an accountability partner
When you do sin, are you quick to confess and repent of it?
CONCLUSION: SOME GREAT SCRIPTURES TO PONDER
Note: Temptation in and of itself is NOT sin
Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. James 4:7
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he
will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will
also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek
you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in
my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have
one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the
atoning/propitiatory sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the
whole world. I John 2:1-2