The Temptation of Jesus

One of the Bible studies I am doing right now is on the book of Hebrews written and lead by Wendy Blight.  We’re in the midst of Chapter 2 and the second section, verses 5-18, have been incredible to read.  As Wendy takes us through the verses, we dissect them one by one {I love that!}.  I answered number 11 and all I can think of is how Christ went through direct temptation from Satan; I’ll relate this to question 11 at the end!

First, have your Bible open to Matthew 4:1-11 or click on the link so that you can refer to this passage as we go along.

This is after John the Baptist {Jesus’ cousin} prepares the way and Baptizes Jesus in the Jordan. The heavens open up and the Holy Spirit comes down in the form of a dove as God speaks words of favor over His Son, setting Him apart as the Christ {Matthew 3}. According to Matthew, Jesus then enters the desert and fasts for 40 days and 40 nights; which means He didn’t eat anything.  At the end of these 40days/nights, Jesus is hungry…duh.  THAT is when Satan comes in.

One

Satan doesn’t go after Jesus while He is surrounded by God’s glory, he is far more crafty than that!  He approaches Jesus when He is physically weak, tired, hot, and more than just a little hungry.  The first thing Satan does is tempt Jesus to satisfy His body’s need for food, but more than that, Satan challenges Jesus’ divinity {vs.3}.

I can just hear Satan hissing in Jesus’ ear, “S-s-s-sooo, they claim You are the S-s-s-son of God? Why don’t You prove it!  Feed Yourself, use Your power…if You indeed have any!” Can you imagine Jesus looking at the stones scattered around Him in the middle of the desert?  Perhaps in the heat, a mirage appears and the stones look like loaves of warm, fresh baked bread, His mouth begins to water.  Instead of succumbing, Jesus pulls out His sword and takes a swipe at Satan, cutting clean through his lies, drawing from the book of Deuteronomy. Christ knew that all good things came from God, that if He used His power to turn those stones into bread {which he absolutely could do}, He would be taking matters into His own hands.  He would inevitably be telling God, “Father, I don’t trust You to take care of my needs, I guess I have to do it myself!”

How often do we feel like we have to take matters into our own hands?  Satan comes to us when we are feeling weak, unsure, and tired. We get discouraged, waiting for the Lord to provide what we think we need right NOW. We cry out, “What are You waiting for Lord? Don’t You see my need?” In our temptation, we make hasty decisions, try to push forward without waiting for confirmation from the Lord.  Now does this mean God wants us to just sit around doing nothing and just wait for Him to give us whatever we “need”?  Not at all!  God has given us gifts to use.  He wants us to use them, move forward and trust Him to fill in the gaps.  There are times when He will not give us what we want, because He knows what we need, or He will wait until we will receive the greatest benefit from what He offers.  It all boils down to this…are you trusting God with your situation…or yourself?

Two

Next, Satan takes Jesus to the highest point of the Temple in Jerusalem. “Throw yourself down!” Satan cries out.  Then he does something so many people simply miss. When Satan says, “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, Satan is quoting Scripture!

Hold the phone and shut the front door!  Satan knows Scripture?? Satan, God’s enemy KNOWS the Word of God?!!  And he uses it to tempt Jesus!!  Whoa! Well, guess what…Satan does the same thing to us!  He takes Scripture, pulls it out of context, using just the verses which seem to “agree” with his half-truths and dishes it out to us on a silver platter.  If we don’t arm ourselves with the Word of God by studying it regularly, keeping Scripture close to our heart through memorization, seeking godly counsel, or praying we leave ourselves vulnerable to his half-truths.  So, how does Christ respond to Satan and this Truth from Scripture?  He pulls out a verse that is higher, more universal from {once again} Deuteronomy.  Yes, God has given us His angels to minister to us, help the children of God, strengthen us and serve us, BUT God doesn’t want us to test Him, to put ourselves in a position of danger or temptation just so He’ll send aid.  {It’s the same for when we sin and receive grace. God doesn’t want us to keep sinning so we get more grace!} Satan was tempting Jesus to test God by throwing Himself down from the Temple. “Jump, Jesus! Your Father won’t let You come to harm, You can do whatever YOU want and He’ll take care of You!”  I’m not God, but somehow I don’t think He would appreciate us trying to force His hand, force Him to act on our behalf.  He is God and though His is benevolent, He is still sovereign {you don’t have to read that whole passage}.

Three

Finally, Satan brings Jesus to a high mountain, showing Him all of creation and the kingdoms of the world. “Worship me,” he says, “and I will give all of this to You!” This one seems like the most obvious temptation, easily disregarded.  Scripture is very clear and Jesus pulls out yet another verse from, you guessed it, Deuteronomy. Christ reminds Satan that only God is worthy of our praise.  How could Satan think He can offer what does not belong to him in the first place?  Jesus finally has enough of Satan and his lies, so He casts him away, commanding Satan from His sight. Satan has no choice but to retreat, having received a direct command coming from God’s very own Son.  We have that same power.  Obviously, Satan won’t flee at the mention of our name, but God has given us the name of Jesus with which to throw Satan from our sight.

Last thought…

In the last verse of this passage, that angels come and take care of Jesus.  He did not call them, they were sent to His side by His Father.  They took care of His needs, served Him.  Once again showing us that Christ is above the angels as we discussed from Hebrews Chapter One.

So what does this have to do with number 11 from Chapter Two??

I’m so glad you asked!  First read Hebrews 2:17.  Everything above supports this verse.  Christ is our High Priest, He is able to empathize with the plight of His people because there is NOTHING He has not experienced, nothing that hasn’t pulled at His heart.

  • He has been tempted to fall away from God.
  • He has endured hunger and exhaustion.

Other passages in Scripture show us that He has experienced:

  • Grief: The murder of His cousin John the Baptist and the death of His dear friend Lazarus.
  • Humiliation: According to historians, when people were crucified by the Romans, they were typically stripped naked while they hung on their cross {can’t imagine too many churches portray that fact…}.
  • The loss of children:  We are His children and He grieves those who are lost to the fires of Hell, because they have rejected His love and forgiveness.
  • Fear: He was afraid of the pain He would face at the cross and asked His Father that if it was possible, if there was any other way to redeem man, then take that cup of suffering from Him.
  • Ultimate Suffering:  The thorns from the crown twisted on His head were driven deeper and deeper each time the soldiers struck Him in the head with their staffs.  Christ hung on the cross for hours.  He would have had to alternate letting His body hang by His nail pierced hands or pushing up on His nail pierced feet in order to breathe; either way pain would have seared through His body.  Trying to lean back on the cross would have been excruciating with the fresh wounds from being flogged; flogging was worse than being whipped because of the type of whip used, flogging tore off pieces of flesh from the body, gruesome I know…but that is what He endured so that we would be free.
  • Loneliness: His disciples abandoned Him when He was arrested in Gethsemane. An even greater loneliness was when God left Him on the cross to suffer for our sin…alone.  He could not help His Son. Oh, He was capable of helping Him, but if God had stepped in and rescued Christ from this death, we would have been lost forever.  Our sins would go on without satisfaction. So Christ hung there, taking on our sin and punishment, He was separated from His Father for the first time in all of eternity.

Our great High Priest knows every pain we have endured and knows what is needed.  Compassion, mercy, forgiveness, and strength is offered.  He is able to provide for our physical, emotional, and spiritual needs because He has experienced each and every single one.

Additional Resources:

  • QuickVerse – Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

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9 thoughts on “The Temptation of Jesus

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing this! To see it right there that he was faced with the same stuff we are faced with but stayed strong in trusting HIS Father. He did not let satan win. Satan knowing scripture and using it against me, I have got to fight back! First it makes me sad but most importantly it makes me want to serve HIM, being more sincere, sharing with others what HE has done for each of us so we could be in eterninty with HIM. Living with no pain, no hurt, no anger, no sickness, no lonliness, no suffering at all. I can not wait for that glorious day! I have got to stand up, trust HIM to protect me and accept the pain that I may have to endure, it will be worth it!

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  2. Wow, Heather, this is AMAZING!! Girl, God has given you such a gift to break apart Scripture and bring it alive. I am thinking you need to start leading our Hebrews study. You have been and will continue to be a huge blessing to this study. Keep on sharing!!!

    Love you,

    Wendy

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    1. Awe! You are too sweet for words Wendy :)! Thank you for the encouragement, I can’t wait to get started on Chapter 3 with you! I don’t think I’ve never been this deep into the Word with a study before and I’m absolutely LOVING this!

      ❤ Heather

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