Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1-11 NIV
God sent Himself in the person of Jesus on a rescue mission.
He came to redeem humanity but Jesus didn’t have to experience all He did to accomplish it.
He loves me (and you) so much it wasn’t enough to conquer death.
Jesus wanted to experience what we experience and know us intimately.
He was willing to walk in our shoes and feel our pain, our human frailty to restore relationship.
Jesus came so we can walk with God in the garden.
Salvation secured, relationship restored.
Jesus was fully God and fully human.
Like me, Jesus experienced temptation.
I think the reason it’s a big deal Jesus never sinned is because maybe He could have.
The definition of temptation is an enticement, a strong urge or desire to have or do something.
Another definition is the state of being tempted especially to evil.
This leads me to believe when Jesus was tempted, He was tempted by things He may have wanted; things He might have desired.
Otherwise is it really a temptation?
If you place brussel sprouts in front of me, no problem.
A red velvet cupcake? That’s a different story.
Jesus knows what it means to be alone in the wilderness.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.
The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3
Satan knew Jesus wanted to eat.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’
Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “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.’ Matthew 4:5-6
Satan taunts Jesus, tempting Him to test God’s Word.
Paraphrased, “It’s okay to jump Jesus – God promises nothing bad will happen.”
I wonder if there is a human urge to prove something – to Himself, to Satan.
Flesh would tempt Jesus to throw Himself down.
Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ Matthew 4:7
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9
Jesus is created to reign so I wonder if something in Him longs to experience His kingdom.
Satan attempts to counterfeit what already belongs to Jesus.
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and the angels came and attended Him. Matthew 4:10-11
Angels came and attended Him. This tells me it was a battle – Jesus was exhausted.
Satan tempts the human part of Jesus by offering things Jesus may have desired – food, confirmation of God, His kingdom and destiny.
If Jesus’ human side didn’t want these things, there is no temptation.
Fully God, fully human.
The temptation is unremarkable if Jesus is only God – I don’t think it’s even possible to tempt God.
Jesus defeats the devil not through His own understanding or power but with God’s Word.
He never thinks, “what should I do?” or attempts to debate satan on His own.
Sin’s temptation is an attempt to meet legitimate needs in illegitimate ways – ways that don’t involve God; ways that separate me from God.
It appeals to my flesh – things I want that usually seem benign.
Temptation says the thing God says is destructive to life and soul is actually the answer to pain and problems.
A siren’s song that leads away from God and smashes me into rocks I cannot see.
A serpent’s garden lie.
He was gritty, dirty.
He died for my sin and the temptations I give in to.
He relates to my need, my weakness and loves me anyway.
Jesus endured temptation, passed the test, then died bloody and beaten for my sin.
He knows the wilderness because He conquered the wilderness.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
When I trust God to provide what I need, I no longer desire the counterfeit version.
The version I create and control apart from God.
The temptation of the garden wasn’t forbidden fruit.
It is the desire for control and to be my own god.
Make my own rules.
Rule my own kingdom.
Be my own king.
The world celebrates it.
In God’s upside down economy, the least is greatest, the foolish, wise.
I must lose to gain.
The key to resist is submission.
Bowing before the king.
Giving up my way for His.
Seeking His Way in my Eden moments of hunger and need.
Falling on God’s Word.
Trusting it will hold.
Knowing Jesus is enough.
In my weakness, He is strong.
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
This week you can also find me over at The Christian Post