(Message by Tanny Keng) 

0. Introduction

a) The temptation
(Place: Wilderness; Date: A.D. 26)

i) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted 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.”

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.”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

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.’ 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. (Matthew 4:1-11 NIV)

1. What is the text all about?

a) The devil's temptations focused on 3 crucial areas:

i) physical needs and desires;

ii) possessions and power;

iii) pride.

b) But Jesus did not give in. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus "was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." He knows firsthand what we are experiencing, and he is willing and able to help us in our struggles. When we are tempted, turn to him for strength.

c) Jesus was hungry and weak after fasting for 40 days, but he chose not use his divine power to satisfy his natural desire for food. Food, hunger, and eating are good, but the timing was wrong. Jesus was in the wilderness to fast, not to eat. And because Jesus had given up the unlimited, independent use of his divine power in order to experience humanity fully, he wouldn't use his power to change the stones to bread. We also may be tempted to satisfy a perfectly normal desire in a wrong way or at the wrong time. If we indulge in sex before marriage or if we steal to get food, we are trying to satisfy God-given desires in wrong ways. Remember, many of our desires are normal and good, but God wants we to satisfy them in the right way and at the right time.

d) Jesus was able to resist all of the devil's temptations because he not only knew Scripture, but he also obeyed it. Ephesians 6:17 says that God's Word is a sword to use in spiritual combat. Knowing Bible verses is an important step in helping us resist the devil's attacks, but we must also obey the Bible. Satan had memorized Scripture, but he failed to obey it. Knowing and obeying the Bible helps us follow God's desires rather than the devil's.

e) The temple was the religious center of the Jewish nation and the place where the people expected the Messiah to arrive.

i) “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1 NIV)

f) Herod the Great had renovated the temple in hopes of gaining Jews' confidence. The temple was the tallest building in the area, and this "pinnacle" was probably the corner wall that jutted out of the hillside, overlooking the valley below. From this spot, Jesus could see all of Jerusalem behind him and the country for miles in front of him.

The End ...


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