May 10, 2014
Home Group Questions (second week in May)
Luke’s message this week was titled
‘The Temptations of Christ- His and ours’
According to Heb. 4:15 how many of the same testings that we go through did Jesus face?
This week’s passage speaks about three areas of temptation Jesus faced – though this was not the only time he was tempted in his 33 ½ years on earth (see Luke 4:13)
Read Matthew 4:1-11.
This passage followed immediately after Jesus baptism where He began his public ministry as our Great High Priest. There at His baptism Jesus experienced the Holy Spirit descend on Him like a dove and he heard the voice of His Heavenly Father’s approval as His Divine Son.
Let’s look closer at these three temptations.
· Who led (compelled Mark1:12) Jesus into the wilderness? Matt. 4:1
· What was the reason given? Who would do this?
· Why do you think God wanted Jesus to be tempted?
See Duet 8:2, Gen. 22:1 & James 1:2-4.
· After 40 days of fasting what does v2 say Jesus was?
· What do you think His physical condition would have been?
· Would you agree he would have been very vulnerable?
· What did the devil say to Jesus? v3
· Why do you think he said ‘If you are the Son of God….’ See also Genesis 3:1
What was Jesus response?
Here Jesus was tempted to use His divine power to perform a miracle rather than rely on God to look after him.
· What was the second temptation? v6
· Why would it have been wrong for Jesus to go ahead?
· What was Jesus response?
Notice the devil said again, ‘If’ you are the Son of God….’ as if Jesus had to prove who He already was. Also the devil misused scripture.
· What was the third temptation? V8-9
· Why would it have been wrong for Jesus to go ahead?
· What was Jesus response?
Jesus ‘was out among the wild animals’ Mark 1:13. He was alone (isolated from other human beings) tired, hungry and very vulnerable.
As you looked at these temptations was there anything which stood out/spoke to you in any way? Share with others in your group.
Relevant verses to consider…. Heb. 4:12, John 10:10. 1John 2:15-17
There is so much good in what Luke shared I thought I would include some of it to read and meditate on. Enjoy.
The reason Jesus was tempted, was to avoid, skip and short cut the way to the cross. The path of Jesus is the path of the cross. There can be no short cuts to this. It must happen in God’s good timing and purpose. There can only be pain, humiliation, rejection from both men and God the Father, suffering and carrying sin on His shoulders. That is why he came. He became sin, who knew now sin so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God. If Satan could successfully tempt Jesus to skip the cross and save His own life, not give it up, then he would win again, just like in the Garden of Eden.
And through this, as Hebrews 4:15 tells us, our high priest is able to sympathize with us in our temptations.
This means the human nature of Jesus still faced real temptations that we face. And in this sense he was tempted. His divine nature couldn’t be tempted with evil, but his human nature could be tempted and was clearly tempted. But any more than that, scripture doesn’t tell us.
So then, putting this back together, the best way to understand it is to remember that only someone who successfully resits a temptation to the end most fully feels the force of that temptation. Any Christians who has successfully faced a temptation to the end, without giving in, knows that it is far more difficult than giving into it at once. So we’d say that with Jesus, every temptation he faced, he faced to the end and triumphed over it. They were real temptations, even though he didn’t give in to them. They were most real because he did not give into them. Jesus knows what temptation feels like. And because he faced every temptation that we face and never gave in, he knows the full force and power of evil desire that comes your way. Think of Jesus as our champion weightlifter; only the winner knows that it’s like to hold the most weight the longest, without dropping the bar or giving in. Jesus obeyed God as a man, in the strength of the Holy Spirit and not His own as God.. He came to be fully man, like us and knew our passion and temptation, not as one observing, but as one experiencing them.
Finally, the devil is a real and powerful enemy. He is a murderer, liar and roaring lion. He is infinitely more powerful than us, but insufficiently powerless compared to Jesus. Don’t brush him off as not real; the father of lies greatest lie is to convince people he’s not real. Jesus faced Him.
What we see in these verses are 3 things about the nature of temptation, and then I’ll close with what this means for us.
• The answer, simply, is anything that seeks to substitute Jesus with sin.
• Temptation isn’t sin. But entering into the temptation is sin.
• Right now, we might be able to say, as Peter did, I will not deny my Master and Lord Jesus, never. The Spirit was willing, the desire was not to sin or enter into sin or give in to temptation. Even the greatest resolve not to sin, can’t stop sin. Our unregenerate heart is evil and deceitful, Jeremiah 17:9.
• When facing temptation, the heart will grow weak, be prone to wander and justify the desire, no matter how illogical, in order to satisfy itself.
• You see, the first step is to know that we have no strength or power to withstand temptation on our own. Left to our own we give in. This has become the normal way of living; have the desire, do it. If it doesn’t hurt anyone do it. Now, the issue with this thinking is that on the surface, there may be no harm at first glance.
At first glance it appears okay, but there are dangerous consequences. Sometimes others are hurt, other times it simply breeds a pattern in my life or hardens my heart to the goodness of God. So then, know firstly that nothing good lives in me and left to my own, I will justify the temptation. Even if I decide against it, pride will result and so there is nothing good coming from it.
• The strength of your desire doesn’t mean you have to give in. When Paul writes, in 1 Corinthians 10:13, that God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, he is saying that no matter how strong, God is stronger and that because of him, there is a way out. The temptation to gossip, may be weak and avoidable but when lust strikes late at night on the computer, God is not any less faithful to Himself. And because of God’s own faithfulness, God will enable you to endure it. Now endure is an interesting thought. Often, we want the temptation to go immediately. But endure means to stick with it until the end and overcome, to come out the other side. We see that Jesus had to endure 3 rounds with the temper himself before he left. Sometimes, temptation will come, and what God provides is not immediate escape, but endurance to face it head on, strength to lift the 300 kg high and hold it longer so that you can win. No instance of your temptation is beyond the reach of your Saviour. Jesus gives us strength to endure before it even appears, watch and pray that you don’t enter into it, Matthew 26:41, as it persists with us, and after it leaves us right until the end.
• Satan tests God’s people by manipulating circumstances, within the limits that God allows him, in an attempt to make them desert God’s will.
• Temptation is going to face each Christian. The question is, what will you do?
• It’s not a sin to be tempted, but giving in is.
• The weapon to resist is the Bible, Ephesians 6:17
• Jesus is a sympathetic Saviour, Hebrews 2:18. This makes happy Christians in the face of temptation, to know that Jesus has walked ahead of them.
• The Spirit is able to take the scripture and use it.
• Jesus succeeds where we fail; where Israel and Adam failed.
• Jesus temptations were uniquely designed for Him; as are your temptations. Some things will tempt you but with others there will be no strong desire or pull. So Satan custom built temptation for Jesus.
• It happened when Jesus was hungry, isolated and tired.
• 1 Corinthians 10:12, after victory come temptations. When we achieve, we tend to think we are God’s gift to the world and can take the grace of God towards us as a reason for pride and boasting.
• God’s way fits with our DNA. Satan’s way is a placebo. It looks the same, but it has a deadly price tag.
• When temptation comes, don’t look at the temptation, look at Jesus, the perfect, sympathizer and victory over it.
• Jesus obeyed God as a man, in the strength of the Holy Spirit and not His own as God. He came to be fully man, like us and knew our passion and temptation, not as one observing, but as one experiencing them.
• Through these temptations Jesus gained the ability to understand and help in our temptations.
• Sin requires forgiveness, temptation requires deliverance. How much better to say, lead me not into it, instead of forgive me for what I’ve done. This is why we are told to pray, in Matthew 6:13, lead us not, what, into temptation. How often do we pray that we won’t be led into temptation? That we would watch, Mark 14:28, that is, keep a look out from the watch town of our life, for any attack of sin, and, before it gets in the city, can sound the horn of prayer and battle in the strength God supplies.
• James 1:14-15, we are tempted by a desire, which then, when conceived, in our minds, gives birth in our actions or heart to sin. I say actions and heart, because lust is in the heart and is still sin. So the mind can see the desire, and at that moment, be delivered out of it before it causes sin to be born.
• Our great battle is with sin. And temptation is the lure to sin, not sin itself. By our new life in Christ, there is a battle that comes. Where by our remaining sin, like a rhino breaking into a cafe, can often damage the room and break the stuff. But, while the rhino of sin is strong, much stronger than you, it has no right to be there anymore. You see, our sin has no authority over us anymore. Jesus does. He claims us. And while sin will try to push us around, it’s not our ruler. Jesus is greater. And, temptation is like running up the street, looking for someone to devour, and entice. And before he can get in, Jesus, who can’t be outwitted or defeated, is our centre stage, answer to temptation.
• There is a brutal, animalistic force that is behind every temptation. It’s not rational, it’s not logical.
• And nothing but the brutal cross of Jesus can overpower them. Only on the cross and only by the risen Christ is temptation suffocated by the blood of Jesus.
• And you don’t entertain temptation, even a little bit; I’ll just enjoy this in my mind or this guilty pleasure. Playing with scorpions isn’t safe.
• Part of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. But, don’t forget that the desires are really powerful. Don’t downplay them. Realize their force. And know that the Spirit, who produces the fruit, is greater.