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Resisting Temptation - Luke 4:1-13

Now we know that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit after His baptism. He was 100% God and 100% man. This refers to the fact that Jesus was in full control and leading of the Holy Spirit. Luke uses the Greek word katabainō (cot-ah-ben-oh) meaning to ‘come upon’ in Luke 3:22 to describe the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus. While Luke uses the Greek word pimplēmi (peem-blay-me) meaning ‘to fill’ to describe people like John, Elizabeth, and Zechariah who are seized by the external power of the Holy Spirit. In essence, we see that Jesus was anointed and led by the Holy Spirit.

Looking at Jesus’ transition from being in perfect union with the two other members of the Holy Trinity for all eternity, enjoying their intimacy in a mighty way at His baptism and right after that trials come. Isn’t it how life works for us as well. Sometimes, it seems like trials and temptations hit us when the times are good. Unlike Jesus, we are not so good at resisting temptations. Many of us fall into the trap that the devil has set for us. Maybe some of us give in to the temptation after fighting it off for long time.

Usually, satan do not try to trap us when we are at our best condition both physically and mentally. Satan and his company like to wait and hit us when we are at our worst both physically and mentally because he knows very well that most people will fall for the trap when they are weak and helpless. Just like satan went to attack the very truth that had just been said to Jesus “You are my beloved son; with you I am well pleased”. Many times, satan tries to deceive us in the same way, he tries to make us doubt God love for us.

Satan gets to his temptation later in verse 3. "Command this stone to become bread". On the surface level this seems like a pretty harmless temptation, doesn’t it? Christ most certainly can do it. He multiplies 5 loaves of bread to feed 5,000 men not including women and children later in His ministry (Matthew 14:13-21). What satan really wants to do here is tempt Jesus to distrust God’s provision for Him. Satan has already aimed at damaging the relationship of Christ and His Father by questioning His Sonship and now he attacks at this relationship by questioning God’s provision and the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Remember friends, we might be tempted to doubt God’s love and provision for us. We might be tempted to jump into a sinful human relationship but what we must do is we keep on fighting hard. We must stay content in the Lord. He has done so much to show His love for us by dying on the cross for each and every one of us. His provision has sustained us until now and it will continue to sustain us for the eternity if we stay faithful to Him. His love and provision never fail.

Next, the devil took Jesus up to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and told Him to throw Himself down, and then satan quoted cf Psalm 91:11-12, “For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone’” (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11). Now we have satan quoting Scripture! Again, Jesus responds by quoting from the Word of God, citing cf Deuteronomy 6:16, which says, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’” (Matthew 4:7). In this passage, Moses reminded the people of when they had tried God (Exodus 17:7). In the wilderness, the Israelites had seen much evidence, yet they wanted God to prove Himself continually. Their attitude was one of perpetual doubt.

Why not do what satan asked? Jesus could float down if He wanted to. The devil is addressing this appeal to a Man of faith, urging Him to prove His faith by putting God to the test. Asking Jesus to “try God out,” Satan was endeavoring to get Jesus to feel doubt. Any lack of faith on Jesus’ part would have destroyed the grounds of our faith. While on earth, Jesus, in a sense, cut Himself off from His Father. Once here, He had to communicate with God like us, by prayer. He had to go to the cross only with assurances from God that He would be raised from the dead, as we do. Satan was trying to get Him to compromise that life of faith.

The last temptation involved satan taking Christ to a very high mountain and, while showing Him all the kingdoms of the world, he made an offer. He said, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9). Imagine satan asking Jesus to fall down and worship him. This idea of devil is quite ridiculous. But let’s see how Jesus responded to this temptation. He told satan to “get away”, and then He appealed to the Scriptures (cf Deuteronomy 6:13) saying, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Matthew 4:10; Luke 4:8). By responding with the Word of God, Jesus continues with the pattern. He did not respond by using His miraculous power; He had to resist in the same way we do — by relying on the Scriptures.

I think being a human being this is the temptation that can be very hard to resist. Imagine if we are offered lots of wealth and riches, I doubt that many of us would be able to resist it but we need to remember that our wealth and riches are in heaven, we shouldn’t be going after the worldly wealth and riches. Satan will try his best to tempt us, but we must ask God to give us the strength to resist temptation and walk on the righteous path.

Some things that we can learn from these temptations and how Jesus responded to them:

1: We should never ignore God’s word. If we don’t know what the scriptures say, then how can we use the scriptures to defend ourselves against the evil one. We must study God’s word, so when we are tempted, we know what is right according to the scriptures.

2: We can’t blame our sins on being human. Jesus was fully human, but He did not sin. Remember anyone can be tempted and being tempted is not necessarily a bad thing but acting on the temptation and doing something sinful is a bad thing.

In thwarting satan today, God’s Word is a valuable tool. Hebrews 4:12 describes it as “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword…” Listing the “whole armor of God,” Ephesians 6:17 tells us the sword of the Spirit is the “Word of God.” Facing temptation without the Word of God would be like an unarmed soldier trying to defeat a powerful, well-armed enemy.


Andy A.

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