THE TEMPTATION OF JESUS
A. Imagine that someone spent a lifetime building a business; he always made the
right decisions and never made a mistake – and he became a billionaire.
1. Now, what good does that do for you or me?
2. NONE – unless we can find out how he was successful, and/or unless he is
willing to share his wealth with us.
B. Hebrews 4:15
1. Jesus was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.
2. But what good does that do us?
a. Is Jesus merely an enviable example that we know we can’t match?
b. No, Jesus’ victory affects us positively.
3. Though we will never be perfect as He is, we can learn how to resist
4. He is more than willing to share the benefits of His success with us.
A. THE TEMPTATIONS JESUS ENDURED WERE REAL
1. That is, they were not games or make-believe
2. The Tempter was Real
a. Satan is not a fairy-tale character with a red suit, horns, pitch-fork tail, etc.
b. The devil spoke; Jesus spoke to him; this doesn’t fit a non-existent or
c. Satan “came to Him” (v. 3) and “leaveth Him” (v. 11) – the devil is a real
d. That is why Peter said … 1 Peter 5:8
3. Jesus’ vulnerability was real
a. He was hungry … Matthew 4:2
1) Had fasted 40 days (cf. Luke 4:2, the inspired physician emphasizes
“He ate nothing“)
2) While it is true that the sharp hunger pangs subside after a few days of
fasting, it is also true that they can return periodically; the text specifically
says Jesus was hungry.
3) Such extended fasting would leave Him in a physically weakened
condition, which also heightens one’s vulnerability to temptation.
4) Jesus felt hunger every bit as much as you or I would; being God in the
flesh did not mean He just turned of His hunger switch!
b. Being human (as well as deity), Jesus was tempted in very real ways by
1) Satan appealed to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of
2) 1 John 2:16 … these 3 categories include “all that is in the world”
3) Temptations did not simply bounce off of Jesus like bullets off of
4. The appeals Satan made were real
a. Matthew 4:3
1) This is an obvious appeal to the desire of the flesh (He was hungry)
2) Satan says, “If thou be the Son of God”
a) This phrase is not expressive of doubt, but a first-class conditional
statement (i.e. since you are …)
b) This is also an appeal to pride – Hey, You’re the Son of God, aren’t you?
Show off your power!
b. Matthew 4:5-6
1) Once again he tempts, “Flaunt Your power! Show off your standing with
God!” pride is again involved
2) This time Satan even (mis)-uses Scripture to “prove” his point
c. Matthew 4:8-9
1) “Showed” Jesus a panoramic view of the world’s kingdoms; promised
them all to Him
2) Satan appeals to His eyes, and His pride
3) Perhaps Satan was suggesting a short-cut method to being “King of kings”
a) Escape crucifixion and related ordeals
b) All Jesus had to do was bow down to the devil one time
d. There were other temptations, too, and they were real – note Luke 4:13,
“for a season” – i.e. until another convenient time
B. JESUS’ VICTORY OVER TEMPTATION BROUGHT MANY BENEFITS
1. His example shows us how to resist
a. Know and obey the Scriptures – Psalm 119:11
b. Even when yielding to temptation is so inviting and would “appear” to
satisfy a pressing need – Don’t give in!
1) Illustration: I am aware of a man who lied about the odd jobs he was
working so he wouldn’t lose unemployment benefits.
2) Jesus wouldn’t abuse His power and flaunt His position even to satisfy His
critical need for food.
3) Be careful re: proper usage of scripture – be sure they are taken in context
4) We are wrong to use Scripture out of context – even to accomplish good or
to promote truth
2. Jesus’ experience qualifies Him to help us when we are tempted –
Hebrews 2:18 … Hebrews 4:15
a. He suffered in temptation – they were real and severe
b. He is sympathetic to our pain
1) Jesus knows by experience what it is like to be tempted
2) Illustration: It can be irritating to work for a boss who has never been “in
your shoes,” doesn’t understand what your job is like
3. He is qualified to be our sin offering – 2 Corinthians 5:21
a. It was necessary that the Redeemer should not Himself need redemption
b. Jesus’ victory over temptation, with complete absence of sin, lets Him fit the
requirement of being without spot or blemish
c. 1 Peter 1:19
4. Jesus regained for us what Adam lost
a. Adam was defeated by Satan; Jesus defeated Satan
b. Adam was tempted in the Paradise Garden, yielded, and was banished to “the
c. Jesus was tempted “in the wilderness,” emerged victorious, and made the
way for all human-kind to return to Paradise eternally
A. You and I are not always successful in facing temptation.
1. We have weak moments
2. We at times to not rely heavily enough on God’s word
B. But Jesus was – and through Him we can have victory at the last.