Jesus Faces Temptation in the Desert
Daily Bible Reading – 1 Samuel 19; 1 Chronicles 7; Psalm 59; Matthew 4
Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 4:1-11
As followers of Christ, how we react in the face of temptation will often define our character. The enemy would have us believe three things – that we are the only ones to face temptation, that we face temptation alone, and that we have no tools available to help us fight off temptation. Fortunately for us, today’s key passage reveals the fallacy of these lies. Following His baptism, Jesus was led into the desert to fast for forty days and forty nights. During His most vulnerable time – in the desert alone with no food or drink – Satan decided to attack Jesus. Three times Satan tempted Jesus to provoke Him to sin, but all three times Jesus prevailed. Today, we will examine each of these three temptations to see the tactics the enemy uses to entice us to sin and how Jesus modeled overcoming these temptations.
In his first attempt, Satan tried to tempt Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” (Vs. 3) Notice what the enemy was doing here. Notice his language. He said, “IF you are the Son of God”. He was trying to provoke Jesus by making Him want to “prove” He was the Son of God. In addition, Satan used Jesus’ hunger as a basis for the temptation, but Jesus had the Word of God firmly implanted in His heart. He was able to defeat this temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3 which says, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Jesus knew that the bread He could consume to quench His hunger was simply a temporary solution to a temporary problem. God’s word, however, is an eternal solution to an eternal problem. When we keep our focus on God, we will find it much easier to overcome temptations based on our current circumstances.
In his second attempt, Satan tried to tempt Jesus by saying, “If you are the Son of God, 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.” (Vs. 6) Once again notice the language as Satan tries to provoke Jesus into proving He is the Son of God. We also note that Satan himself quoted scripture during this temptation (Psalm 91:11-12), though he did so out of context to try to prove his own point. We can learn two lessons from this. The first is that sometimes unscrupulous people will try to use God’s Word out of context to convince us to do things that are not right. When we know the whole of God’s Word, we will be able to see through these deceptions. In addition, we learn that just knowing Scripture is not enough to overcome temptation because Satan also knows the Bible; we must be willing and able to obey what we have read. Jesus once again overcame this temptation by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, which says, “Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah.” When we know God’s Word and we are willing to apply it to our lives and obey Him, we can overcome temptation.
In his final attempt, Satan tried to tempt Jesus by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and saying, “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” (Vs. 9) He was trying to tempt Jesus by offering Him quick and easy access to power and achievement. We will often find that in our temptations, we might be offered wealth, power, or success if we are just willing to stop following God and sacrifice what we know to be right. When we find ourselves craving some earthly thing, we can resist those temptations the same way Jesus did. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13, which says, “Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.” Instead of worshiping the false idols of this world – money, fame, success, etc. – when we choose to worship God and serve Him only, we can overcome temptations.
We can learn a lot through Jesus’ experience in the desert. We learn that we are not the only ones who have been tempted. We learn that during our weakest moments God is with us giving us strength. We learn that through God’s Word we have the tools available to us to overcome any temptation. Follow the model of Jesus, and keep God’s Word close to your heart. You never know when a moment of weakness will come, and in those moments, you will need His Scriptures to find His strength.
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.