At this point, the stage is set for the ministry and work of Jesus Christ to swing into full effect. With the Holy Spirit falling upon Jesus in the form of a dove, there is almost this sense that the first battle between good and evil is coming. To an extent, this isn’t inaccurate either. Good and evil do square off, but not in the way we would expect this to happen. No sword is drawn, no punch is thrown. There is no dramatic standoff where each side stares into one another’s eyes like occurs in the movies. Jesus, instead, goes to fast in the wilderness where He is tempted.
“”Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered,“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
Jesus answered,“It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered,“It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
– Luke 4:1-13, NIV
There are very few times scripturally where the devil appeared face to face with man. The Gospel of Luke is one of those times. This was the standoff between good and evil that would set the tone for the Christ’s mission in the world. The temptation was real in that the devil would be able to offer the things he was offering, but Jesus had no intention of caving in to the demands of the devil. Whatever authority the devil had to do anything, Jesus would strip is away piece by piece until there is nothing left. Jesus did not come in self aggrandizement or to enslave himself for the sake of becoming like mankind. Christ came as a servant to reign victorious and overthrow the forces of evil that have tempted you and I.
Divinity and Humanity in One
The temptation of the devil was complex. In essence, the devil was attempting to persuade Jesus to use His divinity in a self-serving manner, each time twisting the nature of God. For the temptation of the bread was to use His divinity to serve His humanity. Christ, however, came as a servant. For the temptation of authority and glory, it was a renunciation of His divinity in that Jesus would have to swear allegiance to the devil. Jesus, though, knew his right standing was as the Son of God, the Sovereign Ruler and King. For throwing himself, it was to create doubt into both Jesus’ humanity and divinity.In Jesus Christ, His humanity and His divinity are equally on full display and act in harmony with one another. Click To Tweet
In Jesus Christ, His humanity and His divinity are equally on full display and act in harmony with one another. You cannot deny the humanity or the divinity of Jesus Christ and keep His actions as efficacious. Both are needed. The temptation of the devil was to deny one over the other and derail the mission of saving humanity. On the cross, Jesus took the fullness of our sins on himself as fully man and forgave us our sins as fully God. Where the devil dangled the momentary pleasures infant of Jesus, He stood firm in His identity and being. He is Christ the victorious King.
The New Way of Doing Things
We cannot underscore that the temptations of Jesus Christ were actually temptations. If the things that the devil had no temptation to them, then the entire interaction is a farce. To say that Jesus was not tempted negates the humanity of Jesus Christ and both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ must remaining intact for Christ to be successful in His mission. However, Jesus, being the Sovereign King, dictates the terms. There would be no submission to the temptations but a conquering of the devil and evil. Instead of hunger, Jesus would be the bread of life for all mankind. Glory and honor would be taken from the grips of the devil through Jesus’ sacrifice. Furthermore, there would be no need to test the mortality of Jesus as He would give His life willingly.Through Jesus Christ, the world works differently and sin, evil, and the devil have no more authority. Click To Tweet
Whenever we are tempted, we will always have a God and King who has conquered the temptations of this world. Every last one of us will face temptations in our daily life. We will all encounter the devil in some form where we will be tempted to separate or question or humanity with the divinity reaching out to us. However, during those times, lean in to the strength of God. Through Jesus Christ, the world works differently and sin, evil, and the devil have no more authority. Everyone will be tempted, but as Luke 4 shows us, there is no temptation that Jesus has not already overcome. The victory of Christ is offered to us as we become one with Him.
Talk It Out
- What are the things that the devil tempts Jesus with? What do these things have in common?
- How does Jesus respond to the temptations offered by the devil?
- What are some of the comparisons you see between these temptations and what occurred with Adam and Moses? What does this imply about the mission of Jesus Christ?
- Why do you think it is significant that Jesus went to fast right after being filled with the Holy Spirit? What does this say about the priorities of God?
- Jesus, simply put, is not from this world. His mission is a rescue mission for the people of this world burden by the devil. Based on Jesus’ denial of the temptations, what does this tell you about the authority and plan of God?
- We cannot discount the presence of the devil in our own personal temptation. How does the devil tempt us as followers of Christ in our day to day? Why are these temptations appealing?
- In what ways can we employ the same strategies employed by Christ when we are tempted? How can we identity with Christ in His humanity and His divinity?
For more in this series, check out A Walk Through Luke.