Today, we get into Matthew 4:1-4 and begin to take a look at the Temptation of Christ.
The Temptation of Jesus
In these verses we see that immediately following the Lord’s baptism, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil. It is very important that we get something straight real quickly before we continue. God is NEVER the agent of temptation; however, He does often allow and even allows Satanic temptation to serve His own sovereign purposes. The end result is that God allows this to prove a man whom He plans to use or bless. We see this in James 1:12-13.
Other examples include: when God tried Abraham by telling him to leave his family to go to a place that He would later show him; God later him tried him by asking him to kill his only son Isaac, and now God is going to try His own Son before sending him into the ministry. Yes, God will try you and I as well.
40 Day Fasts
Another interesting point is that the Temptation of Jesus was compounded by a fast that lasted 40 days and nights. This 40-day fast matches the fasts of two other men in the Bible. Moses went without eating while receiving the Ten Commandments for forty days (Ex. 34:28). Elijah went without eating for forty days (1 Ki 19:8)
Very Important Number
Forty is a significant number in the Bible. In biblical numerology, it stands for trial, testing and tribulation. Other examples include: the Spies were in the land forty days, Ezekiel lay on his side for forty days, God gave Nineveh forty days to repent and Jesus instructed the apostles for forty days after his resurrection, etc…
Now, we’re going to look at what is called the Temptation of Christ. In Jesus’ temptation, we notice three very important things: 1. The devil tempted Jesus with “out of context” scripture. 2. Jesus responded with “in context” scripture. 2. There were three ways in which Satan tempted Christ (1 John 2:16).
The First Temptation
Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread to prove that he was the Son of God. The devil questioned Jesus’ deity. Notice that he said, “If you be the Son of God…" The Pharisees did the same thing in Matthew 27:40. Of course, many still question His deity today.
John said in John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” Jesus also said on himself in Rev. 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End…”
Lust of the Flesh
Notice that this first temptation appealed to the lust of the flesh. The Lord was hungry. The Bible speaks of the three temptations that the Devil uses against us in 1 John 2:16.