The Temptation of Jesus: How can you say Jesus wasn’t even drawn to sin?
Unlocking the Bible
Question: How can you say Jesus wasn’t even drawn to sin? Hebrew 2:18 (For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted)
–Listener from Minneapolis
We’ve received a number of questions about this. One reason for this is that we only have our own experience of being tempted to draw on. None of us has ever been in Christ’s shoes. But I think this analogy from Pastor Colin’s message called “Temptation” from Unlocking the Bible in Luke (March 25, 2001), gives us a very different and very helpful perspective on Christ’s temptation…
For the first time since the Garden there is a confrontation between the enemy and a man with an unfallen nature. It is the same pattern, the initiative of God, the reaction of the enemy. God always has the initiative, the enemy is always reacting.
The Son of God who created man in his image now takes human flesh, joining the glory of God to humanity in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice that it is the Spirit of God that leads Christ out into the wilderness (Luke 4:1). Christ goes stalking the enemy. The first step in his public ministry is to confront the enemy and to triumph where Adam failed.
There are some beautiful contrasts: Satan confronted Adam in a garden where his hunger was satisfied. Christ confronts Satan in a wilderness, after 40 days of fasting, when his body is weak and his hunger is raging. Satan confronted Adam while he enjoyed the company of his wife. Christ confronts Satan utterly alone.
Do you remember the strategies that Satan used in the Garden? Confusion: “Did God say…?” Presumption: “You will not surely die…!” Ambition: “You will be like God…” The strategies were exactly the same in the wilderness…
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“If you are the Son of God…” (Luke 4:3). “Are you sure about that? If God is your Father, he doesn’t seem to be taking very good care of you, leaving you out here in a desert like this. Strikes me you had better take matters into your own hands… turn these stones into bread.”
The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here” (Luke 4:9). “OK, let’s say that you are the Son of God… if God is your Father, surely he will take care of you. Can’t you trust him to float you down to the ground?”
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… if you worship me it will all be yours” (Luke 4:5). “Obedience to the will of God is going to be incredibly costly. Think of what it will cost you. You can do much better for yourself if you will back off this ‘obedience to the will of God.’”
It is the same strategy, but notice an entirely different outcome. Where Adam collapsed in defeat, Christ rose in triumph: When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left Christ until an opportune time (Luke 4:13). He exhausted every strategy he knew, and at the end was left with no alternative but retreat. The enemy launched everything he had in his assault against our Lord Jesus Christ, but he could not break him…
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