And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.
Jesus Was Tempted
The temptation account of Jesus begins the season of Lent. Each year, the Gospel reading for this weekend is one of the Gospel accounts of Satan trying to derail Jesus’ plan of salvation right at its start.
Matthew and Luke’s account are nearly exactly parallel, telling us that the fully human Jesus was tempted three times by Satan – temptations that every human faces at some time in their lives. Most of us numerous times in our lives.
Temptations of appetite, of trust, and of power.
If you look closely at these temptations, you will see that they coincide with the temptations Satan used on Adam and Eve as well.
But with dramatically different results!
Adam and Eve gave in to Satan’s Temptation, but Jesus?
Not so much.
Mark’s Gospel just mentions that Jesus was tempted by Satan and doesn’t give details. That’s because Mark had a different purpose for his Gospel account of Jesus than Matthew and Luke. Mark – the Holy Spirit, actually – probably felt that doubling up on the details of the temptation of Jesus was good enough.
John’s Gospel doesn’t mention it at all, probably for the same reason.
Still, the result of Jesus’ temptation is important for us to explore.
To Show Us that We Don’t Have to be Scared of God
Because Jesus was human, he could be tempted. But why was Jesus tempted?
Jesus was tempted by Satan to show us that we don’t have to be scared of God.
Remember, many people are living scared in this world. That isn’t the way God wants us to live.
Because of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin through the temptation of Satan, we live scared of a lot of things.
But the one thing we are most scared of is actually our Creator, God!
God, who is perfect and just, condemns sin and condemns sinners. Ezekiel 18:20 says it clearly: The soul who sins will die.
Let me repeat that with a slightly different emphasis: The soul who sins will die.
Not “the soul who is tempted will die.”
Temptation does not condemn us. Jesus teaches us that. Even Jesus – the Son of God – was tempted to sin.
Just like we are!
We do not have to be scared of God because of Jesus! Jesus faced the same temptations, yet with a vastly different outcome than most of us!
To Show Us that We Don’t Have to be Scared of Temptation
Jesus did not give in to temptation. He could be tempted. He was tempted in his state of humiliation.
But Jesus did not succumb to temptation. He overcame it. He battled Satan and his temptations and gives us the same tactics and weapon to do the same. Call on God and use his Word!
The truly human Jesus was successful in battling temptation. We do not have to live scared of temptation because we have the same weapon at our disposal.
God’s Holy Word!
Do you want to overcome temptation? Use God’s Word. Read it, know it. Study it with others in one of our Bible studies, and you, too, can overcome all of Satan’s temptations!
To Show Us that we Don’t Have to be Scared When We Do Fall to Temptation
Except … how’s that working out for you?
I freely admit, I’m not very good at being successful like Jesus when faced with temptations.
I use the tactics and weapon that Jesus used. But I fail, and often, and miserably.
But that’s exactly why Jesus – who successfully resisted all temptations – still went to the cross and died a sinner’s death!
Jesus died to forgive you all your sins, when you give in to every temptation.
Jesus death shows us that we don’t have to be scared when we do fall in to temptation.
When we do fall, we turn back to God in faith, repent with a contrite heart, and receive the forgiveness of sins.
Well, how often to you fall in to temptation? That often!
The world of Monsters Inc. depicts in a silly way a world that lives scared. Fear is what drives the economy of the world of Monsters Inc.
Living scared is how this world is condemned to be unless …
Christ comes and takes on temptation, takes on our sin, and takes on the cross.
Ultimately, this is what Jesus does. All successfully.
Because of Jesus Christ, we no longer have to live scared.
We can live safe, even when faced with temptation.
Heavenly Father, help me overcome my fear by being assured that Jesus overcame temptation for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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