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A TEMPTATION RESISTED
By Dale D. Meredith
February 25, 2018
University Baptist Church
790 Dodge Road
Getzville, NY 14068

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Good News Bible, The Bible in Today’s English Version, copyright ©1976 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

21 After all the people had been baptized, Jesus also was baptized. While he was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you." (Luke 3:21-22)

BAPTISM OF JESUS (Luke 3:21-22)

The angel had said that John the Baptist was to go ahead of the Lord like the prophet Elijah (Luke 1:17). John began preaching “Turn away from you sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins” (Luke 3:3b). He further said, “Do those things that will show that you have turned from your sins” (Luke 3:8). Jesus came to John to be baptized. John required a confession of sin and evidence of repentance. Jesus had no sin and therefore had no confession of sin and thus could not have evidence of turning from sin. John tried to persuade Jesus not to be baptized and requested instead that he be baptized by Jesus (Matthew 3:13-14). Jesus persisted by saying, “Let it be so for now. For in this way we shall do all that God requires” (Matthew 3:15).

We don’t know all the reasons why Jesus was baptized to satisfy “all that God requires.” Jesus had pledged to do God’s will (Hebrews 10:7) and thus He came to be baptized. Hebrews 2:17 says, “He became one with those who needed to repent though he was without sin.” In 2 Corinthians 5:21 Paul wrote concerning Jesus’ death on the cross, “Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God.” When Jesus submitted to baptism by John, He was identifying with those who needed to confess sin and give evidence of turning from sin. His action was a public commitment to become the one to share our sin on the cross such that we might be made right with God when we confess our sin and turn away from our sins.

While He was praying after His baptism the Holy Spirit came down on Him like a dove and a voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son. I am pleased with you” (Luke 3:22). Jesus prayed often, but Luke indicates that Jesus always prayed at certain critical times in His life. One time was here at the beginning of His ministry. Another time came when He spent all night praying before He called the twelve disciples (Luke 6:12). Another time, on the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus went to pray with Peter, James, and John (Luke 9:28-29). There His concern was with the “way in which he would soon fulfill God’s purpose by dying in Jerusalem.” He received confirmation when a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen—listen to him!” (Luke 9:35). Again, when He was on the Mount of Olives the night before the crucifixion He was praying “Not my will, however, but your will be done.” Then “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:42-43).

The result of the voice and the appearance of the angel confirmed that Jesus was doing God’s will just like God wanted. And as often happens when we make public commitments to follow God and do what He wants us to do conflict occurs. After Jesus’ baptism, He immediately encountered temptations.

TEMPTATION OF JESUS (Luke 4:1-13)

Setting for temptation

1 Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert, 2 where he was tempted by the Devil for forty days. In all that time he ate nothing, so that he was hungry when it was over.

Temptation to satisfy Himself and form materialistic kingdom

3 The Devil said to him, "If you are God's Son, order this stone to turn into bread."  Jesus was hungry. There in the rocky wilderness the stones on the ground near his feet looked like the loaves of bread his mother had baked. It would be easy to turn them into bread. He could have food to fill His hunger. More importantly, He could also turn stones into bread for the people. The people would follow a leader who could provide their physical needs. He faced this temptation for himself, but it would come up again.

The apostle John (6:8-13) wrote that Jesus used a boys five loaves of barley bread and two fish to serve dinner for 5,000 men, not counting the women and children. After they had eaten all they wanted there were still twelve baskets of leftovers. Jesus realized the people were about to seize Him and make Him king by force. He could quickly become the evangelistic leader of a large crowd of people. It could quickly grow into a national force. He had experienced this kind of temptation in the wilderness, so he quickly left that place (John 6:14-15).

Hebrews 10:7 records that before He came into the world that Jesus, the Son, told God, the Father, “Here I am, to do your will, O God, just as it is written of me in the book of the Law.”  Therefore, Jesus used Deuteronomy 8:3 to overcome the temptation.

4 But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Man cannot live on bread alone.'" He said it to the Devil and He repeated it here by His actions. A materialistic life is not a full life. One must have hope, love, and purpose to live a full life.

Temptation to do it my way

5 The Devil took him up and showed him in a second all the kingdoms of the world. 6 "I will give you all this power and all this wealth," the Devil told him. "It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. 7 All this will be yours, then, if you worship me."

This is a double temptation. The first temptation is to form a kingdom for the power and wealth that Jesus could have. This is a great temptation for many. The desire for power and wealth is what many desire. The second temptation is to get what you want in the quickest and easiest way possible. That is to try to get someone to give it to you. To do that the Devil says all you have to do is worship him. To worship him is to follow him and do as he does. First, you would have to get it by lies, trickery, and force. That is the Devil’s way. Obviously, the Devil is a liar because everything has not been handed over to him, and it is not his to give to anyone. To try the Devil’s way to establish the kingdom would result in lies and struggles without the desired results. Therefore, Jesus used Deuteronomy 6:13 to defeat this temptation.

8 Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!'"  This might, and did, result in Jesus’ death on the cross, but it was done according to God’s will. The kingdom was established on love, sacrifice, hope, and truth.

Temptation to attract people by signs and wonders

9 Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem and set him on the highest point of the Temple, and said to him, "If you are God's Son, throw yourself down from here. 10 For the scripture says, 'God will order his angels to take good care of you.' 11 It also says, 'They will hold you up with their hands so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.'"

This temptation is to quickly “prove” God is in you and your ministry by doing a great sign. You can jump off the top of the building and be safe because there are Bible verses that says God will protect you from getting hurt at the bottom of the jump. It says so in the Bible according to the Devil. The Devil quoted scripture. He knows scripture. He just doesn’t follow it or use it correctly. He does lie a lot.

The Devil quoted Psalm 90:11-12. These verses are about God’s protection from hidden dangers, deadly diseases, and sudden attacks. It says nothing about being protected when you do something you know is harmful or wrong. Jesus was ready and quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 to overcome the temptation.

12 But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  We are not to take the initiative to make God prove himself or demonstrate his power. The scriptures teach that God always takes the initiative. He acts first in creation. He acts first in revelation. He acts first in redemption or salvation. We respond. We receive the creation. We receive revelation. We receive salvation. God has and does make the first move. We are to accept and follow Him.

Jesus only gave one criterion for how people could know that we are His disciples. In John 13:34-35 Jesus said, “And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

After temptation was over

13 When the Devil finished tempting Jesus in every way, he left him for a while.  That’s right, this session of temptations was over. However, the Devil is still alive. Temptations were a continuing feature of the ministry of Jesus. Even on the cross the temptations continued. While on the cross (Luke 23:35), the Jewish leaders made fun of him: “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah whom God has chosen!” The soldiers said (Luke 23:37), “Save yourself if you are the king of the Jews!” One of the criminals, who was also being crucified, insulted him with (Luke 23:39): “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  Jesus could resist temptation in public because He had made His commitment to God, the Father, and had learned to resist temptation in private. He also was committed to do God’s will “just as it is written of me in the book of the Law.” To do that, Jesus obeyed Psalm 119:11, “I keep you law in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.”

JESUS LIVED FOR US

We make a big deal about Christmas and Easter. We should they are very important. Jesus came to earth at Christmas. The gift from God that was the promise of salvation. Jesus was crucified on the cross, buried, and raised to life at Easter so that we can have salvation and eternal life. Without Christmas and Easter, we would have no hope, no salvation, no life eternal which begins now when we confess our sins, turn away from our sins, and accept Jesus as our Savior and leader. He came to die for us. But He also came to live for us. His life between His birth and His resurrection is also important. It is so valuable for us because of what He taught and how He lived. We need His lessons for us and His example for us of how to live His teachings. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. His teachings may not specifically mention our situation, but they tell us how to live in any situation. And then, He showed us how He lived in similar situations, so we can follow His example.

We can learn from Jesus that we should make a public commitment to repent, turn from our sin, and follow God in all that He requires of us. Jesus submitted to baptism and publicly identified with those who were following God as a result of John’s preaching. We may not know all that we will have to do when we accept God’s call make our commitment. But we can follow Jesus’ example and make the commitment. We can begin the process of following God.

We sometimes think, and some even claim, that if you make the commitment to follow Jesus your troubles are over, and life will be easy. That is the Devil’s story for you. We can also learn from Jesus that following God is not always easy. However, God will be with us, hear us, and strengthen us when the decisions are hard, require sacrifice, and are not popular with people in our culture. If fact, we will face temptations as long as we live. Jesus did and we can expect it also. In John 16:33b Jesus said, “The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world.”

We also see Jesus faced temptations when he was alone, when He was with others, and even while He was doing exactly what God wanted Him to do. That’s right we can be tempted during times of worship as well as times with others at work or play in the culture in which we live. Jesus followed Psalm 40:8 which says, “How I love to do your will, my God! I keep your teachings in my heart.” We can do God’s will when we can learn His teachings and do them. Psalm 119:11 says, “I keep your law in my heart, so that I will not sin against you.”  Jesus did not carry large scrolls of the Scriptures with Him. He kept God’s law in His heart so He could do God’s will. We don’t carry our paper, or even electronic, Bible with us everywhere. We can learn God’s teachings and keep them in our hearts so we will not sin against God.

Let us commit to follow the teachings and examples of Jesus as we live for God.