This week, we will continue our look at the life of Jesus as seen in Luke 4. After Jesus’ baptism by John, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert for a showdown with the devil. For 40 days, we are told Jesus was under temptation by the devil. The biblical meaning of the number 40 is a time of trial, and that’s certainly what happened to Jesus during these days. Jesus endured the trifecta of a perfect storm:
Many of our trials include one or a couple of these realities but Jesus’ trial included them all. It’s easy to imagine the testing of difficult circumstances and the trial of enduring this period alone. Those trials are difficult in and of themselves. But, add to that demonic oppression! Let’s take a look at the essence of the three demonic challenges that Jesus encountered:
1. If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. /// Luke 4:3
Jesus had been fasting during the 40 days in the wilderness. You don’t ever have to wonder if Jesus knows what it is like to have little available. Jesus was hungry and apparently had nothing with him to eat. The devil said to Him, “IF you are the Son of God”. You ever had the devil challenge you in a situation of lack? Where is your God? If you are His child, why are you suffering or doing without? The devil gave Jesus a simple solution: Use your influence, authority, and power to take care of yourself. This is a very common temptation. The answers to our questions about this serve as the essence of trust in God for provision. Jesus’ answer:
“It is written” The word of God is my guide for provision.
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” God is the author of every plan and direction for my life. I don’t take direction from the devil or the flesh. I would rather wait on God and hurt then to disobey, get a need met and forfeit my grace.
2. “All this authority I will give You, and the glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” /// Luke 4:6-7
This statement was made after the devil showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. This is not an empty offer. The devil could give him these things. It would not have been a real temptation if he could not. Why did the devil have this authority in the first place? Because he had stolen it from man in the Garden. Jesus had a calling as a king; a purpose to save people. Wouldn’t the devil’s offer bring that purpose to fruition? Jesus’ answer:
“Get behind Me, Satan!” You are not leading this parade – God is!
“It is written” Again, the word determines my pathway to my purpose.
“You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” The place you are asking for in my life is reserved for, dedicated to, and owned by only One! Why should I give it to a lesser power and being? After all, He is your god as well – whether you recognize it or not!
3. If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here /// Luke 4:9
This temptation occurred at the pinnacle of the Temple – the highest point in Jerusalem. Remember – to be a temptation, the process must be real! In this temptation, Satan uses scripture to shore up his point. You are protected as God’s child, therefore handle your problems, desires, and temptations as you see fit because God will cover you. Jesus’ answer:
“It has been said” Again, the word is final authority.
“You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” There is no spiritual insurance against actions that occur when acting outside of God’s direction.
One final note: If you go to Israel, you realize that Jesus was baptized by John at the same place the children of Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. How symbolic! The period of time the children spent in the wilderness was a disaster! They were confronted over and over by these same temptations and more often than not, made the wrong decision. But, Jesus in His time of trial defeated the devil and provided a pathway for you to do the same!
· Luke 4:1-13 (NKJV)
· 1 John 2:16-17 (NIV)