Jesus’ Life and Ministry
Learning From Jesus’ Temptations
IMMEDIATELY after his baptism, Jesus is led by God’s spirit into the Judean wilderness. He has a lot to think about, for at his baptism “the heavens were opened up” so that he could discern heavenly things. Thus Jesus now fully remembers his life as a spirit son of God, including all the things God had spoken to him. Indeed, there is much for him to meditate on!
Jesus spends 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness and eats nothing during this time. Then, when he is very hungry, the Devil approaches to tempt him, saying: “If you are a son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus knows it is wrong to use his miraculous powers to satisfy his personal desires. So he refuses to be tempted.
But the Devil does not give up. He tries another approach. He challenges Jesus to leap off the temple wall so that God’s angels will rescue him. But Jesus is not tempted to make such a spectacular display. Quoting from the Scriptures, he shows that it is wrong to put God to the test in this way.
In a third temptation, the Devil shows Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in some miraculous way and says: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” But again Jesus refuses to yield to temptation to do wrong, choosing to remain faithful to God.
We can learn from these temptations of Jesus. They show, for example, that the Devil is not a mere quality of evil, as some people claim, but that he is a real, invisible person. The temptation of Jesus also shows that all the world governments are the Devil’s property. For how could the Devil’s offer of them to Christ have been a real temptation if they were not really his?
And think of this: The Devil said he was willing to reward Jesus for one act of worship, even giving him all the kingdoms of the world. The Devil may well try to tempt us in a similar way, perhaps placing before us tantalizing opportunities to obtain worldly wealth, power, or position. But how wise we would be to follow Jesus’ example by remaining faithful to God whatever the temptation may be! Matthew 3:16; 4:1-11; Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-13.
◆ What does it mean that the heavens were opened to Jesus?
◆ How did the Devil try to tempt Jesus?
◆ What can we learn from Jesus’ temptations?
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