Luke 4:1-13 “Temptations of Jesus”
Last week we looked at the genealogy of Jesus and how God works through broken lines to redeem His people. Today we see what happens to Jesus after He is baptized. He is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan. Before we read the text, I want you to ask yourself this question. How do I typically experience temptation? As a Christian, you should not have to think hard about this. If you are living a life of faith and taking up your cross, you should have a ready answer for this. If you don’t know when you are typically tempted, or what a common temptation is for you, its probably because you typically give in and and your conscience is seared. What I hope to do today is look at the temptations of Jesus, and see how they are similar or different from the way we normally think of temptation.
Temptations often come when we are weak… Temptations are often perversions of “good” things…Temptations are ultimately about worship.
Before we get into the temptations though, I wanted to share a word about fasting. If you have never fasted at any point, you really should consider it. One thing you will find right away is how often you are bound by the desires of your flesh. Secondly, if you go to the Lord in prayer or scripture whenever you are hungry, you will find the the sustenance you really need is found in Him. You will also find that when you are done, your self discipline has been strengthened and you are able to fight temptation better than before. At lease that has been my experience. So, also, if you have ever fasted before you will know that you get hungry when you do, so it was quite the understatement to say that at the end of 40 days, Jesus was hungry…
Now, what I want to do is look at each of these temptations and See how they are about Good things, and how they are ultimately about worship.
Temptation to feed on Bread… The flesh is subservient to the spirit. This would have been a self serving miracle. Why would this have been a sin if Jesus had made bread out of a stone? He certainly did make food for people a number of times, and food is often the setting for Jesus’ ministry. Eating food at this point would have been a sin because he was in the wilderness to be fed by the Word, not the loaf. Making bread would be seeking satisfaction in a temporal thing. I would say that this is probably the most common temptation that American Christianity faces. It is certainly a struggle for me. You are stressed, or worried, or board. In God’s plan, those feelings should drive you to Him, but in our world of convenient food, we can simply eat to reduce stress, and feel a little bit better. We may feel better in our bodies, but our souls are what need to be strengthened. This is the good thing that is turned into an idol. Jesus’ words should cut each of us to the heart when He says that Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Temptation to have kingdom without cross… Satan somehow was able to show Jesus all the nations of the earth at one time. He was able to see the whole roman empire, ancient Egypt, Kush, and many others. Wouldn’t it be a good thing for Jesus to rule over those nations? think about the persecution and evil deeds of the Roman empire. Jesus could have put a stop to that. He could have ruled instead of Nero, who killed so many Christians. He could have saved Christians from the colosseum, and from all types of wickedness. Why would it be a sin for Jesus to save the world in that way? Quite simply, Satan was lying in the first place, we know through scripture that he does not have that kind of authority. He is the father of lies and he twists things in order to make it seem like he has more authority than he does. Secondly, to accomplish this, Jesus would have to worship Satan. Now, it seems like it is obvious why this is wrong, because Jesus pointed out the problem saying, “you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only Shall you serve.” Think for a minute though, Jesus could have just faked it, He could have said that the end justifies the means. All those lives, all that Christian freedoms he could have protected. All of the sin and debachery in the kingdom of Rome He could have put a stop to. When you are looking at death by crucifixion on one hand and a half hearted bow on the other, it certainly seems like the lesser of two evils. But here is the thing, we will see this time and time again in this book. Jesus is not here to establish a political kingdom! Jesus’ concern was not for the glory of Rome, Jesus’s concern was not for any earthly kingdom. I would also say that Jesus’ concern is not for America. Jesus’ concern is for the Glory of God. As Christians, our first allegiance os to the kingdom of God an His glory, not the kingdom of America. The temptation for us today is so clear to me, and I know it will make you mad, and if it does, it is exposing your idolatry. America is a blessed nation, but we have never been and never will be the Kingdom of God. We have done a lot of good things, but we have also propagated massive amounts of evil. You realize this nation was built using a system of slavery where you could own another human being and sell them as you pleased. Masters would break apart families, and beat and torture men and women who were made in the image of God, and twist scripture to make it seem ok. The Klu Klux Klan was filled with church going men who hated their neighbor and would terrorize their communities. Some of you talk about America as though it is the Kingdom of God manifest on earth, and say that the roots were Christian. Well, there may have been some people who claimed Christ in our history, but the sins of this nation are very great. The temptation to nationalism is very great for Christians right now. Some of you are either worshipping this country, or you are worshipping a candidate. You may not say you worship them, but if you say that they are this countries only hope, or something to that effect, you are essentially worshipping them. Jesus will reign over all nations, but He must go to the cross first, and we are called as His disciples to follow him as He leads. We take up our cross. We go into all the worlds and make disciples, not make political parties.
Temptation to test the Lord… Here we see Satan twist a scripture to try and convince Jesus to go against the word of God. Why is it a sin to test the Lord? Because the promises of God are not for a laboratory, they are for real life!
Jesus combated Temptation with the Word.
If you think you can fight temptation without the word, you think you are better than Jesus.
Feed yourself with the word…
Hope in the Kingdom of God…
Trust in the word of God…
One thought on “Luke 4:1-13 “Temptations of Jesus””
I like when you said: “America is a blessed nation, but we have never been and we never will be the kingdom of God.”
Yes, brother! You spoke truth right there. That’s not the only thing that you said, but it definitely struck a chord with me.