The Temptation of Christ – Luke 4:1-12 ESV, Rob Harlan, Teaching Team

The Temptation of Christ Luke 4:1-12

Context: We saw that John was Baptizing and that so many people, including Christ but when Christ was baptized, the heaven’s opened and John saw the Holy Spirit descending on Him like a dove.  Then there was a voice from heaven saying “this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  

Luke 4:1-12 “And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led 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 were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” 9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him 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, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”’”

  1. V1 Lead by the Spirit into the wilderness, for what? TEMPTED
    1. I find it interesting that Matt 4:1 says that He was led into the wilderness TO BE TEMPTED in the wilderness.  That is, the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness for the expressed purpose of being tempted, not just by nature of being the wilderness, but by being subjected to the Devil’s intentional temptation. 
    2. He was literally led by God into temptation and I wonder if this was the impetus for the prayer, “Lead us NOT into temptation.”  He knew what that was like. 
  1. V2-4 “for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
    1. The word Tempt here is better translated “test” and can have the meaning of putting something on trial, or test something’s quality.  
    2. The Devil begins with an obvious temptation – attacking the bodily ache for food.  
    3. Christ had to become fully human to be a substitution for our sin.  He had to obey the will of God perfectly. Being a man required him to feel the pain of a man, the hunger of a man. 
    4. Why is this a sin? carnal desire – a desire of the body that, though good in and of itself, the desire to eat, yet it was a desire to eat food outside the will of God. 
    5. What does He do?  What does Christ rely on in this moment, because how He responds is an example to us. 
      1. How would you respond?  How would you handle this temptation?  Will power?  Outsmarting the Devil?  
      2. Jesus turns to the Word of God and quotes from Deuteronomy 8:2-3 “2 And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. 3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
      3. How did the mana come?  It came from the command of God from heaven and they were forced to depend on that word of God. 
    6. What does this passage do?   He is pointing out that people do not REALLY live by feeding the flesh and surviving physically. We survive by faith in God’s Word. 
      1. It’s like saying “Yes, I know I could die from hunger, but real life is in faith in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
  1. V5 – 6 “5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
    1. This the temptation of Idolatry. 
    2. One problem.  It will cost you, but all it will cost you is worship of the Devil himself.  
      1. We are told in Romans 6 that we are slaves to whatever we devote our lives to.  
      2. Romans 6:18 “Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?”
      3. Do you want to be a slave of Sin?  Does it have your best interest at heart?  Do you want to be the slave of the devil?  Does He have your best interest at heart?  
    3. How is this a temptation? 
      1. These things are actually not bad in themselves.
      2. And we know that is the will of God that Jesus rule and reign over all world.  Satan just wants to seem like wants to HELP Christ get there. 
      3. It doesn’t look like much of a cost, or much of a sin, bowing down to the Devil for a second, submitting to him?  
      4. But the wages of sin is…death. 
    4. How does Jesus combat this?  
      1. He goes to the root of what this is, which is the temptation to worship another god. 
      2. Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 5:7 “You shall have not other God’s before me.” and also from Deuteronomy 6:13 “13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.”
    5. How does quoting this passage help Jesus to fend off the temptation to make a deal with the Devil?  
      1. These passages remind him that no matter how much Satan offers Him, it is still a sin to worship someone other than the one true God, and it is THAT obedience that really matters, not being king of the world. 
  1. 9-12V “9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him 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, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”’”
    1. I think this is the temptation that gets to those who are really walking with Christ.  Those who you see who are on fire for Christ.  
      1. Those who have faith that could move mountains and your entire identity is rapped up in who Christ is to the point that comfort, survival, riches, resources…you have learned that God has you.  You have learned that He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. 
      2. You have learned that God is the one that giveth and the one that taketh and that you have food that is to do the will of God and that is IT. 
    2. You have your faith in the Word of God, but Satan can quote from the Word of God too.
    3. Satan has watched Christ quote and quote and quote from the Bible and seen his temptations not able to move the Son of God. 
    4. It’s as if the Devil said, oh you are a Holy man. You have big faith?  Prove it. You trust God? Prove it. God Loves you?  Prove it?  Since the Bible says that Angels will bear you up lest you strike your foot against a stone… if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. 
    5. What is the temptation?  The temptation is to prove God to Test God.  How?  It would be Christ DOUBTING by Him trying to prove to Himself or others of His Identity. The Devil is demanding that Jesus force God to prove He is the Son of God, and He is tempting Jesus to enter into this PROVE IT attitude. 
      1. The promise is that no matter what comes against you, the angels will protect
      2. But you see the slight of hand the Devil is using because the promise does not include a promise letting you PROVE any time you want, at your own discretion to any critic, cynic, doubter, or mocker that God will literally save you as you jump from the top of the Temple. 
    6. How does Christ deal with the temptation? 
      1. He again turns to Holy Scripture, and again, it is Deuteronomy 6:16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.” This was a command NOT to put God to the test in the way in which they did at Massah, where they doubted if the Lord was with them (Exodus 17:7). 
      2. He is saying to the Devil that He would NOT disobey the command of Scripture to demand of the Lord something out of a doubting heart. 

Application

  1. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will Lead you Directly into Temptation. Have you ever been led by God, and when you got to your destination, it was nothing but trials and temptations?
    1. A new job, a new ministry, may put you right into temptation to fear, to rely on yourself, or to solve problems in the flesh. God giving you money may tempt you to greed. God giving you more responsibility visibility may bring criticism you aren’t used to and it may tempt you to retaliate or become resentful. Success may bring admiration that tempts you to pride, or adultery as in Joseph. 
    2. Don’t think things are automatically not God’s will just because they come with temptation.  
  1. Temptation is often a Prep for Greater Ministry.  
    1. Think of Moses in the wilderness.  Think of Joseph as a slave, being tempted by Potiphar’s wife.  Think of Queen Ester, and Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Moses in the wilderness as a shepherd with a temptation to doubt God’s ability to use him – this wilderness experience was necessary to teach him humility so that God could actually use him, rather than a prideful, strong 40 year old with Egyptian education who really saw himself as a leader. 
    2. Joseph needed to be tempted to teach him that doing what is right is COSTLY but GOD is still in CONTROL.
    3. Queen Ester and Daniel and the rest tested and proved the power of faith and taught them that God is in control, that you can trust God.
    4. How is God testing you?  Are you in temptation?  
    5. It may be that God has a roll for you beyond your wildest imagination and in order to use you He MUST teach you these lesson or 
  1. We turn to the Word of God. 
    1. Here we have God in the flesh who has vailed his omniscience within frail humanity so that, in His humility and self-imposed limitations, He is forced not to rely on omnipotence and omniscience, and having all authority, knowledge, and power, and is forced to respond out of the weakness of humanity. He is forced to respond as if He were one of us. 
    2. The primary purpose is to serve as an atonement, because He has to be fully man in order for the substitution to be legally valid. A legitimate human being must be used as a substitute for humanity.
    3. But this also serves as an example as to how we approach temptation.  Impossible temptation. Use the Word of God!
    4. Why does He quote from this passage?  His mind goes to the part of the Bible that He can relate to in his trial – the wilderness! 
      1. We are to look at the Bible and look at the how the Bible addresses our situation. 
      2. Are you homeless?  So was Jesus.  Are you rejected by people in your own ministry?  Look at Paul.  Are you tempted by sexual lust?  Look at Kind David and the consequences and look at Joseph who was tempted by a seductress and overcame – how did he handle it?  Are you tempted by greed?  So was Jesus, right here.  Are you tempted by comfort?  That is this story right here.  Are you tempted to Doubt?  So was John the Baptist.  So was Peter and Thomas and other disciples. 
  1. The Devil Attack your Identity in Christ and will use the Scripture against you.  
    1. “We are not sons of fornication.”  How does that sound next to a claim of a virgin birth?  Jesus’s humanity had to be strengthened and tested and taught to prepare him for the crowds.  
    2. The enemy may come to you and say, if you are a Son or Daughter of God, doesn’t the scripture say that God will give you all things, then do you have more bills than income??  Doesn’t the scripture say, whatever I ask the Lord, believing, I will receive?  Then why are you still sick?  Doesn’t the scripture say, God has given us all things richly to enjoy?  Why then do you have to say no to this temptation.  Doesn’t the Bible say, be ye perfect, for I am perfect?  Last I checked you were far from perfect. 
    3. See how each of these questions calls into question your identity in Christ?  He wants you to prove it – If Satan can get to your identity, then he has you. 
    4. So when you are lead into temptation, turn to the Word of God and trust God, and remember who you are in Christ, that He loves you and that He has a purpose in bringing you through this time of test. 
    5. Use the word of God, Then temptations that you face are to teach you who God is and that you can trust Him and teach you who you are in Christ – that you are a child of God, bought with a price.