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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Correction - Jan. 10, 2010....

FACING TEMPTATION -


Matthew 4:1-11


SESSION OVERVIEW:


Our lesson for today opens with what may be called a “changing of the guard”. John the Baptist had done his assigned life’s duty, now he must hand leadership over to his cousin, Jesus. John put it this way: “...he must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30). It is interesting that Jesus’ first act of increasing was to meet with Satan. But it is this meeting with Satan that is the focus of the lesson...


It is noteworthy that even when dealing with the devil, Jesus used no “magic” or “super powers” in the confrontation. That’s important because we need to know today that the very same methodology employed by Jesus still works today, and any dedicated believer can make use of it...


But keep in mind that no one was present but Jesus and Satan. For Jesus, as for us today, this may be the most trying time of any life...


INTRODUCTION:


Two of the four Gospels – Matthew and Luke (Luke 4:1-13) – record details of the Temptation of Jesus. Mark mentions the incident, but does not go into detail (Mark 1:12, 13). John is silent on the incident. However close examination of the narratives in Matthew and Luke will reveal that the order of the temptations is reversed. Both agree that the first temptation was the invitation to Jesus to turn stones into bread. However the serious Bible student should not be overly concerned...


Jesus was faced with circumstances similar to what many of us face today: immediately following a “mountaintop” experience, He faced a valley of trials. If nothing else, it tells us that Satan’s tactics have not changed over time...


I. The Setting (Matthew 4:1, 2)


Jesus was “led up of the Spirit” into the wilderness. Now “wilderness” may more accurately be described as “desert”, as the area is extremely hot and surrounded by desert land. But what is interesting is the statement that Jesus was led by the spirit to be tempted of the devil. Many may be curious as to just why the Holy Spirit would lead Jesus into a place for the specific purpose of being tested. The answer may be that temptation is a part of everyone’s route to eternal life...


Look now at Jesus’ condition: He had been without food for forty days and nights. It is natural to assume that He was hungry. However Jesus was not the first to accomplish this feat: Moses fasted forty days and nights, but he was in the mountain with God (Exodus 34:28). But what is important here is the fact that during His fasting, there is no indication that Satan confronted Him at all. In fact, it would appear that not even hunger overtook Jesus until after His fast was ended...


II. Satan’s Approach (Matthew 4:3, 4)


Satan had conquered the first Adam with the offer of three things: food, power and recognition. As Jesus was the second Adam, the devil probably sought to effect the same thing. And here, Satan had an advantage that he didn’t have over the first Adam: Jesus was actually hungry, while the first Adam was not. Satan therefore made his first temptation food. Of course, the question might naturally arise, what is wrong with eating after fasting for forty days? The answer is that in order for Jesus to eat under those circumstances, He would have to (1) obey the devil, and (2) make the first use of His Power a selfish use...


Jesus’ response, therefore, was directly from Scripture (Deuteronomy 8:3). It is important to note that Jesus avoided getting into any personal discussion with Satan...


Note also that Satan’s challenge was “If thou be the Son of God”. Satan knew that Jesus was indeed the Son of God; he just wanted Jesus to get off His divine course to prove it. In fact, John wrote his entire Gospel for this purpose (John 20:31)...

III. The Other Temptations (Matthew 4:4-11)


Jesus is now taken (we don’t know in what form) to the “holy city” ( Jerusalem ) on a “pinnacle” of the temple. It is not clear exactly where on the Jerusalem temple this is, but Josephus wrote of a steep precipice at one point on the temple (Antiquities XV. 11. 5)...


Satan now quotes a Scripture (Psalm 91:11, 12); but he leaves part of it out. He leaves in only the part that would be advantageous to him. Of course, Jesus’ answer is sto the point (Deuteronomy 6:16)...


Finally, Jesus is taken up to a high (unnamed) mountain and offered all the kingdoms of the world; all Jesus had to do was worship the devil. Jesus again didn’t enter into debate; He simply quoted Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:13)...


Verse eleven is often overlooked as an afterthought, but it is vitally important. It is clear that while the devil was trying to derail Jesus’ ministry at its beginning, angels were already on their way with what Jesus needed. What was needed of Jesus was simply a little patience, which He obviously exercised...


APPLICATION OF THE SCRIPTURE -


Many Christians today are convinced that once God becomes ruler of their lives, nothing bad will happen. This is almost always NOT the case. Satan has no interest in you so long as you have no mission. He didn’t even bother Jesus until He was starting His eartnly ministry...


It is vitally important to understand Satan’s tactics. We know what they are because since the beginning of time, those tactics have not changed. The devil is still offering mankind food, power and recognition as “bait” to leave the Word of God. This hasn’t changed simply because Satan continues to have such great success...


Do not get into philosophical discussions with the devil or any of his helpers. God’s Word is the only proven defense; and one has to constantly read and meditate over the Word so that it can quickly be put to use in any situation. Remember, the devil will always offer you what he thinks your earthly body can’t resist. In the meantime, if it is something you really need, angels may already be on the way....


A
 

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Fantastic, Brother A!
God bless,
Greg
 
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