1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Spiritual temptation is a tricky subject. Because we can’t necessarily see it clearly, we can either be unaware that it’s happening, overwhelmed by it, or be dismissive of its impact on us.
But this passage reminds us that there are very real dark forces at work in this world that we must overcome. And it gives us some incredible insight on how Jesus overcame His temptations.
Some of the lessons we can learn are:
- God understands what it feels like to be tempted – Jesus’s experiences with temptation means He can empathise with us in our human weaknesses. Since God understands, we can be confident that God will be merciful and graceful when we ask for help to overcome temptation.
- Jesus overcomes temptation with the power of God’s Word – Each time He responds with “it is written” and then He quotes God’s Word. We need to know God’s Word so we too can fight lies with the truth.
- Critical thinking is important – Jesus is tempted by lies and ‘twisted truth’. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to think critically about what we hear to and evaluate whether messages we are hearing are true.
- God will give us what we need. Don’t give in to the temptation to take the “easy” way out – Satan tried to get Jesus to doubt God’s care for Him and take matters into His own hands. When we’re faced with a stressful situation, we can forget that God will always take good care of us and make poor choices or respond out of fear.
1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Thank you, Jesus, that you understand what it’s like to be tempted and that you are full of grace and mercy towards us. And thank you for modelling how we can deal with temptation and that you have given us the power to overcome it.
Written by Shelley Witt