4:1-11 Jesus Resists The Temptation Of Satan
Memory Verse: Matthew 4:4
4:1-2 Temptation: Darkness That Follows The Light
- 1:1-3:17 So far, everything we have studied about Jesus has been glorious. We studied His genealogy that pointed to Him having the right linage to fulfill the prophecies of the coming Christ. We then studied His miraculous virgin birth as He was declared the One who would save His people from their sins. Wise men brought presents to worship Him—the only one worthy of worship. The king was threatened by this young child who was born in a manger, and tried to have Him killed, but He was protected. He grew older and at the right time He found John the Baptist and received His baptism to fulfill all righteousness. Finally, the heavens opened, He received the Spirit of God and God declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
- 4:1 Now, the glorious story turns dim and Jesus is tempted to do wrong. We have heard that He is the Son of God, and now we will find out as Jesus is led by the Spirit up into the wilderness (a desolate place) to be tempted of the devil. God does not tempt anyone, but He allows it to happen and uses it in our lives. God does test us. The difference between the two is in the motivation: one who tempts another hopes that he will fail and do wrong. The one who tests another hopes that he will succeed and do right. For believers, we need to realize that our salvation is a glorious experience, but there will be a time after we are saved that our new reality will be tempted and tested. Just like Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit to help us. We also have the promise from God that He will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear and He will make a way to escape.
James 1:2-6, 12-15; 1 Corinthians 10:13
- 4:2 Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. Fasting is when you choose not to eat or drink for a certain period of time so that you can focus on spiritual disciplines like praying. When He was done fasting, He was hungry and physically weak, but spiritually strong
4:3-4 The First Temptation: “Prove Your Identity”
- 4:3 The First Temptation: The Devil, who is the tempter (hoping people fail), came to Jesus and said, “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The Devil might have been there when God from heaven declared Jesus as His Son, because now he is challenging Jesus’ identity. He says, “If” which introduces a condition clause and cast subtle doubt on what was already stated. The Devils point is that Jesus turning stones into bread would prove His identity as the Son of God. He also knew Jesus is physically weak and hungry, so he uses food or nourishment to tempt Him to prove His identity. The devil will use things in our life that we crave or when we are weak to cause us to doubt our identity in Christ.
- 4:4 The First Reply: Even though Jesus was physically weak and hungry He was confident in His identity as the Son of God—because of the very Word of God. Jesus answers the Devils temptation saying, “It is written” and then quoting the following scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus didn’t need to prove who He was by doing a miracle to provide Himself bread at the Devils beckoning, but could rely on the very word of God that proceeds from God’s mouth—meaning everything from the declaration of heaven to the entirety of scripture. Thus He is rejecting the miracle as needed proof and trusting in God’s Word as proof. Physical food is important, but so is trusting God at His word.
4:5-7 The Second Temptation: “Prove Your Trust”
- 4:5-6 The Second Temptation: Next, the Devil took Jesus up into Jerusalem (the holy city), and set him on a pinnacle of the temple. He then said to Jesus, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Since Jesus quoted scripture and declared its importance, the Devil decided he would try to use scripture to tempt Jesus this time. It is like the Devil is saying, if you really live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, then prove it. He knew that if he was really the Son of God that the angels would take care of Him and He should test it to prove His trust in the scriptures. The devil will even use the Bible (out-of-context) to cause us to doubt our trust in God and His Word.
- 4:7 The Second Reply: Jesus knew the scripture that the Devil used was true, but that He used it out-of-context and for Jesus to needlessly throw himself of the top of the temple just to test if God would save Him was unnecessary and wrong. Jesus quoted scripture back, that counteracts the devil’s motive, which says, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” We are not to tempt God and put Him to the test. It shows our lack of faith, trust and dependence on Him and His word. Jesus knew this and would not play the Devil’s games. This scripture was given to protect Jesus, not for Him to live a reckless life.
4:8-11 The Third Temptation: “Prove Your Allegiance”
- 4:8-9 The Third Temptation: Again, the devil took Jesus, this time up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Then the Devil tempted Jesus saying, “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” It’s as if the Devil concludes that Jesus isn’t going to do a miracle at his bidding, and so he ask for something more subtle, yet more costly. He wanted Jesus to pledge His allegiance to Him as God by falling down and worshiping him in exchange for an earthly kingdom. The devil will try to tempt you with fame, wealth, power, authority etc in exchange for your allegiance to God.
- 4:10-11 The Third Reply: Jesus quickly replies to the Devil, “Get thee hence, Satan.” He refers to Him as Satan (adversary, accuser), tells him to be gone and then quotes the following scripture: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Jesus knows that only true worship and service should be given to God—the Supreme Being. Satan wants to be God. He wanted Jesus to treat him like He would treat God. Jesus was unwilling to trade His allegiance in for anything. He pledged His allegiance to God. Finally, the devil left Jesus and angels came and ministered unto him.
- What happened before Jesus went to the wilderness?
- How many days did Jesus fast?
- What was the first temptation? Jesus’ response?
- What was the second temptation? Jesus’ response?
- What was the third temptation? Jesus’ response?