To you ladies who would like to talk with Steph about her blog post or otherwise, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following is an English transcript of the message from a couple weeks ago.
Today I want to look at the temptations of Jesus. We know that Jesus is the Son of God; therefore, as part of God, Jesus was without sin, and in fact could not sin. But then Jesus came to earth in the form of a man. And we know very well that humans are capable of sin. We want to consider Jesus’ humanity, His obedience and sinlessness, and what gave Him power to stay free from sin while He was on earth as a man.
Before we look at Jesus, let’s think about the first man, Adam. Adam is most well-known for the first sin, and because of that first sin, we now all have inherited the curse of sin and death. But that’s not how Adam was created. Adam was not like we are.
Adam was created perfect and in the image of God. He knew neither good nor evil, but was completely innocent and harmless. He wasn’t simple or lacking intelligence; he simply lacked the knowledge of or desire to sin. That’s something we often forget. The world was a paradise, and the people perfect before the devil deceived the first man and woman with sin.
Ever since then, every person born from the lineage of Adam has inherited their father’s curse of a sinful nature and the death that follows. Everyone except one person–Jesus. You will remember that Jesus was born of a virgin. He did not have an earthly father but was conceived by the Holy Spirit of God. As such, He did not inherit the sinful nature that everyone else inherits from Adam.
Instead, Jesus was made just as Adam was before the Fall into sin. And just as Adam could (and did) choose to sin, Jesus could choose. But the difference is that Jesus always chose obedience.
It is hard for us to imagine how it would be to not have the natural tendency and desire to sin. When Adam and Eve were tempted that first time, they did not have the same impulses toward wrong that we are all born with. They did not naturally want to disobey, as we do. Jesus was the same way. Thus, He could stay free from sin.
We do not have much of a record of Jesus’ childhood. We don’t know how He responded as a child for the most part. But I can easily imagine that He would have been the ideal child because He was not born with the natural tendency toward selfishness, anger, meanness, and so on that we were born with.
We do have a snapshot of Jesus when He was twelve years old. We read that during the Passover feast, Jesus was separated from His parents and left behind in Jerusalem when they had returned home to Nazareth. When they discovered He was missing, His parents returned and searched Jerusalem, eventually finding Jesus three days later.
He was in the temple talking and debating with the religious leaders about the Scriptures. Already, at such a young age, Jesus loved God’s Word and realized that He was to be about His Father’s business. Yet when His parents told Him how worried they had been, He submitted Himself immediately to them and went home with them until He was an adult. You can read that story at the end of Luke 2.
We can determine that Jesus was an unusual child, concerned about the things of God and not interested in the things of this world. That character stayed with Him throughout life. He often spoke of the fact that this world was not His home. He knew that He belonged in heaven with God. And He didn’t know it merely as faith like we do; rather, He was like Adam in the beginning. He knew God personally. That reality drove Him to obedience.
Perhaps unlike Adam, Jesus understood the reality of separation and judgment by God. This surely must have been another factor in Jesus’ obedience. To Jesus, the judgment of God wasn’t some distant possibility. Jesus knew firsthand what the wrath of God against sin was.
Furthermore, Jesus loved God intimately. He knew God’s heart and shared His love. More than anything, that love is what kept Jesus from sin.
When Jesus was around thirty years old, He was ready to begin His ministry to the people of Israel. First, He went to be baptized. John the Baptist was the one to baptize Jesus, and John told Him it was not necessary because Jesus was without sin. But Jesus wanted to fulfill all the expectations of a follower of God to give us a perfect example of how to live.
Let’s read Matthew 3:13-17 to get the background before we go into chapter 4 and see some temptations Jesus faced.
“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires. ”
So John agreed to baptize him. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.””
Matthew 3:13-17 NLT
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.
During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”
Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’ ”
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”
“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.”
Matthew 4:1-11 NLT
After Jesus’ baptism and before He began His ministry of preaching and serving the people, Jesus fasted in the wilderness for forty days and nights. There were two other people recorded in the Bible as having fasted for forty days and nights, and they were Moses and Elijah.
Moses was the man God gave the Law to, and Elijah is known as the chief of the Prophets. Later in Jesus’ ministry, He met with Moses and Elijah in their spirits, and they talked together. We do not know what they talked about, but we know that they were two very critical men in God’s plan. In this sense the men who represented the Law, the Prophets, and the Redeemer all had similar experiences of fasting.
One significant thing we know about Moses and Elijah is that they talked directly to God, and He talked directly to them. They heard His voice. They knew Him intimately. Their discipline of prayer and obedience allowed that closeness to develop. Jesus likewise pursued a close relationship with God the Father.
The devil tried to destroy this time of closeness for Jesus. When He thought Jesus was at His weakest after forty days without food, the devil tried to tempt Him to sin against God. Though Jesus did not have a sinful nature, He was a human just as we are. These temptations would have appealed to Him from the outside.
He was hungry. He was poor. He was alone. He had a huge responsibility ahead of Him. For all these reasons and more, Satan’s offers could have been appealing. But Jesus was prepared. He knew God’s Word. It was in His heart. It was His heart. He chose to love and respect His Father over anything the devil had to offer.
In 1 John 2, the Apostle John talks about the three types of temptations Jesus faced in this experience. Let’s read 1 John 2:15-17.
“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.”
1 John 2:15-17 NLT
The devil used common types of temptations against Jesus. We today still face these. The devil tempts us with things that feel good to our bodies: the lust of the flesh; with things that appear valuable: the lust of the eyes; and with things that appear powerful: the pride of life. All sins can be filtered into these three categories.
Imagine if Jesus had yielded to the devil and chosen sin as Adam did that first time. How tragic! Our only hope would have been lost! And that’s exactly what the devil was after. But Jesus was triumphant.
The Book of James says that we sin because we are drawn away by our own lusts and enticed to sin. But Jesus was free of those lusts for the things of this world. He had heaven and His Father always in mind. He said that He always did those things that please the Father in John 8. It is no wonder that God said in an audible voice at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
This temptation by the devil in the wilderness was a critical point in Jesus’ life, but it was not the last time He was tempted. Remember, Jesus was in a human body, just as you are. We know He suffered physical hardships. He was often tired and hungry. He told His followers He didn’t even have a place to lay His head. He was so exhausted that He could sleep through a storm on a ship at sea.
He suffered emotionally. He lost friends and family to death. He saw people rejecting Him and His offer of salvation. People lied about Him and sought to malign Him in public.
He suffered rejection in relationships. He could not be with His own family. In the end, even His closest friends betrayed and deserted Him. He went to suffering and death alone.
All of these things were felt deeply by Him. He didn’t want to suffer any more than you do. We can see this in His agony the night before His arrest. Let’s read about that in Luke 22:39-48.
“Then, accompanied by the disciples, Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives. There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.”
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him.
He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.
At last he stood up again and returned to the disciples, only to find them asleep, exhausted from grief. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?””
Luke 22:39-48 NLT
Can you imagine how Jesus felt? He knew He was going to be deserted by all those He loved. He knew He would be ridiculed and tortured physically. He knew He would be horribly forced to carry His own cross on a back that was ripped to shreds and bleeding. He knew He would be nailed up as an animal and a criminal for all to see. So, He wept, and His sweat was as great drops of blood as He agonized about the horrors to come.
But His love was so great, that He stayed faithful. He did not sin. He did not falter. His obedience and sacrifice He willingly gave so that you could be saved from sin and death. He died for you.
It is because of Jesus’ perfect life and perfect death that God raised Him triumphant from the grave three days later. And the power of Jesus’ blood and resurrection offer us freedom from sin. If we believe on Jesus and accept His sacrifice for our sin, we can be born again and made into a new person through the power of Jesus.
What does that mean? It means that we no longer are under the curse of sin. We are no longer slaves to sin. Through the power of Jesus, we are able to choose love and obedience, just as He did.
“But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NLT
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:1-3 NLT
“Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.
Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There
is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.”
Galatians 3:23-29 NLT
Those who are born again through Jesus become changed. Our minds and our hearts are changed. We are still in these fallen bodies, and we still must battle against the temptations of the devil, but we have access to the mind of Christ. We can exercise the same power of temptation and sin that the Lord Jesus did.
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.
In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”
Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT
Just as Jesus was, we will be tempted by the devil. As long as we are alive on this earth, he will seek ways to destroy us. He is the constant enemy of our souls. But through Jesus, we have the power to overcome. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. And if at any time we fail, we can come boldly to Jesus who will help and forgive us.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.”
1 John 1:9-10 NLT
“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.”
1 John 2:1-3 NLT
Reading about the temptations of Jesus is very moving for me. When I think of all the Lord endured because of His love for me, I find it overwhelming. But it is also hugely encouraging to know that the same power that Jesus had is now available to me. Because of His life living in my heart, I too can have victory over the devil. I can live in loving relationship with Jesus and the Father because of Jesus’ victory in temptation.
“Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.”
Jude 1:24-25 NLT