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Here in chapter 4 of Luke we come to the first step after His dramatic baptism. He is now ready to launch into an impactful work among people.
But note what this first step is. Jesus doesn’t wander off, but is led by the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. This battle of temptation will put to the test the claims of Jesus. If He can survive this, then He must be for real. Listen to the words: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 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.
NOTE what happens when Jesus is vulnerable from being so hungry. The first temptation he uses is as follows:
The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
Jesus answered, It is written: “People do not live on bread alone."
This sounds strangely familiar to what the devil used on Eve in the Garden. Eve saw that the tree was good and had the desire to eat.
The second temptation:
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 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. If you worship me, it will all be yours."
Jesus answered, It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only."
What’s interesting here is that the devil’s offer of all of the kingdoms of the earth to Jesus was legitimate. Since he is the “god of this world”, then he owns the kingdoms temporarily and can give them away.
The third temptation:
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. For it is written: "He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone."
Jesus answered, It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Here the devil attempts to lure Jesus into performing a useless miracle, just for the heck of it.
NOTE 4 vital principles for us today:
1. Each of the temptations is not new. They have all been used in the Garden and are still being used on us today.
2. Each temptation is an offer for immediate gratification rather than taking the long way—instant lunch, instant king of kings and an instant use of power for a frivolous activity.
3. Each temptation is an attempt to secure dependence on the devil, his ways and timing rather than being dependent upon God.
4. Temptation will occur when you have just experienced a high and have become vulnerable in some way—hunger, anger, loneliness or tired.
Note what it says at the end of this scenario: When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. Just when you think that you are safe, the devil will show up. He won’t show up to mess up your life as much as he will do anything he can do to distract you away from your simple dependence and reliance upon God and God alone.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
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