The Temptation of Jesus

James Tissot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Bible Study #12, Based on Luke 4:1-14

Prior to this passage in the Gospel of Luke, God anointed Jesus with the Spirit of God: therefore, at the beginning of this passage, Jesus is already filled with the Spirit. Also, prior to this passage, Luke informed us that Jesus was a descedant of Adam, who was the son of God.

With these two facts in mind, we must now turn our attention to the temptation of Jesus. The Spirit of God leads Jesus to the wilderness for forty and days, and there Jesus is tempted by the Devil.

In Genesis 3, the serpent (the Devil) tempted Adam and Eve after God had created them, bestowed many blessings on them, and given them a porhibition. The result was that Adam and Eve succumbed to the Devil’s temptation. However, in this passage, Jesus is victorius over the Devil.

The Devil tempted Jesus through the weakness of his mortal body (the hunger he experienced). Nevertheless, Jesus chose to depend on God’s word to nourish him.

The Devil also tempted Jesus with the kingdoms that had been given to him: nevertheless, Jesus remained faithful to God once again. Jesus refused to worship the Devil, He remained faithful to God, and He did not covent earthly kingdoms.

At last, the Devil tempted Jesus by misleading his understanding of the Bible and God’s will, but Jesus still remained faithful to God: Jesus refused to tempt God, and He let God take charge on how He would fulfill His promises in the Bible.

The point of this passage is not to teach us that we can resist the Devil: even Adam was not able to resist the Devil. The point of the passage is to teach us that, where Adam failed and where we shall surely fail, Jesus is victorious because He is God’s anointed.

The key to defeating Satan and overcoming temptation in our own lives is not to quote Scripture at him. Instead, we need to believe in Jesus because He already defeated Satan; we need to ask Jesus to have mercy on us, because He overcame temptation (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15); and we need to be filled with the Spirit, because He will minister the victory of Christ to us.

In this passage, we see that Jesus had come to the kingdom of Satan, and defeated Satan in that wilderness. And Jesus would not stop there: immediately after this, he would begin to overthrow Satan’s kingdom through miracles, healings, exorcisms, and the preaching of God’s word.

Questions for Reflection

  • People sometimes think this passage teaches us to quote Scripture at the Devil to defeat him. Why is such interpretation wrong? Why is quoting Scripture at the devil not effective for us?
  • Were the temptations Jesus endured real or only an illusion? In other words, was Jesus really tempted by them?
  • Why is the victory of Jesus Christ over Satan (and, eventually, over death) the key to victory over sin and death in our own lives?

Prayer Focus

  • Praise God for the victory of Jesus over temptation, Satan, and death.
  • Thank God ro sending Jesus to defeat Satan, sin, and death.
  • Ask God to fill you with the Spirit of Jesus so you can receive God’s grace and Jesus’ help.

Reminders

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