Being tempted by the devil
Luke 4:1-21 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they had ended, He became hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” 5 And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” 8 Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” 9 And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; 10 for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You,’ 11 and, ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time.
14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. 15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
In today’s text it says: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. One of the ways we can be drawn into sin is to believe that temptation itself is sin. When we believe that it is a sin to be tempted we feel guilt, condemnation and shame. Jesus Himself was tempted, not only in what we read in today’s text, but also as it says in Hebrews 4:15: We do not have a high priest (Jesus) who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Jesus lived in a human body. He was tempted in every way we are tempted, yet without sin. So temptation is not sin and we should not feel guilt, condemnation or shame at being tempted. James 1:13-15 describes the process of temptation resulting in sin. It says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. So first we understand that God does not tempt or test us. He is not setting a trap for us to see if we pass or fail. Like Jesus, we are tempted by the devil. Next it says we are carried away and enticed by our own lust. Temptations come in many forms, but the devil will focus on areas of our lives where we are weak or vulnerable.
In today’s text Jesus had fasted, gone without eating for forty days. The text says: He became hungry. The devil thought Jesus would be vulnerable, wanting to satisfy His hunger. The text continues: And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” In Matthew’s account of the temptation, Matthew 4:4, it shows the full verse that Jesus quoted, from Deuteronomy 8:3: man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. This is significant because when we look at the actual temptation, it was not simply to satisfy His hunger. The temptation was to do it to prove that He was the Son of God. This temptation came after Jesus was baptized. In Luke 3:22, as well as in the other gospel accounts it says that when Jesus was baptized: the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased." The word that proceeded from the mouth of God had already affirmed and confirmed that Jesus was indeed God’s Son.
Basically there are three ways the devil will frame the temptations against us. He will try to have us question who God is. In today’s text it says: And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” The Lord God is the one we should worship and no other. Second as He did with Jesus, the devil will try to get us to question who we are, whether indeed we are saved and redeemed, whether we are like Jesus children of God. Romans 8:15-17 says: you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Like Jesus, we are children of God. We have God’s word and the testimony of the Holy Spirit to confirm that we are children of God. In and through Christ we have been adopted into the kingdom of God and like Jesus we have all the rights of heirs of the kingdom. We should never let the devil cause us to question who we are.
The third way the devil will try to tempt us is to question what God says. The devil will twist scripture. He will misquote scripture. He will try to have us leave things out of or add too God’s word, in order to change what God has said. Like Jesus our best and only defense is to know what God’s word actually says. Jesus had an advantage over us in this area because He Himself was the Word made flesh. (John 1:14) Remembering though that we are enticed by our own lusts, if we will begin by making sure that we know what God has said about the areas where we are weak, the areas where we are most tempted, we can hold fast to God’s word and His promises in those areas. If we can counter the twisting or distortion of God’s word with the truth of God’s word, we can resist the devils temptation.
James, who described the process of temptation
and sin, also tells us the way out. In James 4:7-10 he says: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners;
and purify your hearts, you double-minded… Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. The psalmist says: Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of
Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. (Psalm 37:4-5) Our best defense against the temptation of the devil is to draw near and remain close to God. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul is speaking of the spiritual battle we are engaged in. He says: We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Temptation will come. We will be tempted by a variety of things in a variety of ways. Our human minds process about 50 thoughts per minute. There is no way to change or control the number of those thoughts. While we cannot eliminate them, we can take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, providing: we know who we are – we know who God is – we know what He says and we draw near and delight in Him.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for the truth and the promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. Knowing that You alone are God and that I am Your child, I choose to draw near to You. Holy Spirit teach me and guide me in the truth of what God has said so that I may resist the devil. Thank You Jesus, that through You I already have the victory in all things. Amen.