Enjoying the Journey
Why is the temptation of Jesus Christ given to us in Scripture? We know that our Lord was without sin. In fact, as God, it was impossible for Him to sin. Yet the Holy Spirit chose to record His earthly temptation three distinct times (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13). Jesus Christ is the perfect man and therefore is the only perfect example for us. The God-man set a course for every godly man to follow in the hour of temptation.
We learn from Him that we must guard our lives in every point. Hebrews 4:15 declares that Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” The devil did not bring one temptation against the Lord – he brought many. He began by appealing to the needs of His body (vs. 3). Surely there was nothing wrong with Him eating after a 40 day fast. Sin is very often the temptation to fulfill legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. Next, he appealed to His soul (vs. 6). Satan’s desire was for Christ to think something He should not think, to feel something He should not feel, and to choose something He should not choose. The tempter even quoted Scripture! Read Psalm 91:11,12 and note what he left out. In the end, the devil appealed to His spirit (vs. 9). Life is a matter of worship: who will we bow to? In this point Satan brought his greatest temptation – to put someone in the place only God Himself is worthy to hold. The tempter will not come in one way; he comes in every way. He will wait until we are vulnerable and bring his greatest temptation at the moment of our greatest weakness.
We also learn the power of every word. In verse 4, our Lord responds, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Every word of Scripture is from God. It was recorded by man’s hand, but it came from God’s mouth (2 Timothy 3:16). Every word of Scripture is for man’s life. The deepest needs of every person are addressed in God’s Word. We rarely miss an opportunity to feed our bodies. We should give as much attention to our inner man (Job 23:12). Every word of Scripture has been written down for us. Read it. Memorize it. Meditate on it. Obey it. Every time the tempter came with his “if”, the Lord Jesus responded with an “it is written.” The secret to victory over temptation is not merely quoting Scripture, it is submitting to its authority.
Finally, we learn the importance of every day. There is a tendency to view the temptation of Christ as an isolated event. Yet Luke is careful to tell us that the temptation lasted for 40 days (Luke 4:2). He also explains that at the end of the temptation the devil “departed from him for a season” (vs. 13). He will be back. We must guard our hearts every day. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8).
Let “every man” determine to follow the example of the Lord Jesus. To guard every point. To live by every word. To stay pure every day.