Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/03/16 – 560 – Jesus’ Temptation in the Desert
At some point (it would seem not long after Jesus’ baptism), John the Baptist was thrown in Herod’s jail because he refused to endorse Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife , among other things. Herod was kind of a nut. He didn’t take kindly to people disagreeing with him, but was afraid of what the people might do if he just killed John, since they all believed he was a prophet. So to prison he went.
Jesus, in the meantime, underwent some very hard and special preparation before beginning His formal ministry here on earth.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 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.
Notice how Satan always seems to show up when we’re at our weakest point?
3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.”
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 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. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”
9 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. 10 For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Notice the one other huge lesson in there for us? Jsus was able to resist the devil not because he was the all powerful Messiah, Son of God. He did nothing magical. He was able to resist Him purely from citing and knowing the scriptures! He didn’t even have to know chapter and verse – He just had to know what it said and what it meant.
After 3 attempts, Satan knew he was wasting his time, so he left, but with plans to come back at “an opportune time”. Scary. What have those times been for you? Has he ever showed up? I know he has for me, unless I was prepared! Satan doesn’t like to lose. He’ll skirt the battle and leave to fight another day if he doesn’t think he has a chance of winning.
This story is barely mentioned by Mark, not mentioned at all by John, but told at length by Matthew and Luke. That’s OK. We might ask ourselves why Jesus didn’t take the easy way out – after all, who would it have hurt? The answer is – it would have hurt countless people as it would have undermined the integrity of His ministry on earth. For all the accusations made against Him, no one could ever find even one wrong that was legitimate.
Another reason could simply be as an example to us. To show us that we can stand strong in the face of adversity, take the unpopular position and carry through simply because it ‘s the right decision. Today let’s pray that the Holy Spirit living in us would transform us into people of integrity and strendth – no matter what the cost.