The Final Temptation
“It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” (Matthew 4:7, NKJV).
Being led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Jesus faced temptation by Satan according to Matthew 4. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ had the opportunity to experience all those things Christians suffer through today, but without succumbing to sin. Presented to Jesus was the love of the world: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1st John 2:16).
After a 40 day fast, Jesus the natural man was hungry. With alluring prompting, Satan tried to persuade Jesus to change stones into bread, so that he may satisfy his hunger, the lust of the flesh. In great refusal, Jesus said to Satan, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word the proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Relentlessly, Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple and dared him to throw himself down. But this time, Satan supported his request with scripture; he proclaimed that it is written, “He shall give His angels charge over you, in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”
Satan knows the Word of God? You better absolutely believe that Satan knows the Bible thoroughly. This is why he is also called the adversary. Satan knows every promise God has given us, every weakness of humankind, our power and authority over sin and that he is a defeated foe. Satan’s mission is to operate against God’s Word, against the truth. Remember, Satan is a liar and in order to lie you must first know the truth. Satan will do whatever it will take to manipulate Christians into turning away from God. Yes, he will even use the Scriptures to dare you to do that which you know is wrong, just as he attempted to convince Jesus to throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple to satisfy the lust of the eyes (to show off, perform or put on a show).
The third temptation became even more intense for Jesus, but not enticing. He remained steadfast. The devil took Jesus to an exceedingly high mountain to show Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Appealing to the pride of life, Satan offered all of them to Jesus if He would just fall down and worship him. Obviously this was contrary to the Word of God as Jesus declared after rebuking him, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” The script was flipped, Jesus declared that Satan would fall down and worship Him in a matter of time. As divine as Jesus the Christ is, in a tempting situation Jesus used that which was written before his time, the Pentateuch to combat against the devil’s attacks. He studied the Scriptures and carried It with Him everywhere He traveled. It was and is an awesome defense against the wiles of
the enemy. Jesus illustrated that if you resist the devil he will eventually flee according to James 4:7 and that Christians are in a spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12) against the devil and not a physical one.
Jesus predicted His death and resurrection at least four times in the book of Matthew. He spoke of the betrayal of Judas and the denial of Peter. His words surely disheartened the disciples at the supper of their final Passover. Afterwards, Jesus went to a garden called Gethsemane where he prayed while the disciples watched. In there humanity, the disciples fell a sleep. In Jesus’ divinity, He prayed this prayer: “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done” (Matthew 26:42, NKJV).
It was not the heinous brutality He was about to face that caused Jesus to pray such a prayer, but it was the knowing that He must be separated from the Father in order to fulfill His divine purpose. That was a greater torture for Jesus Christ than knowing that His blood will be shed. Jesus gave of Himself willfully, “…I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself…” (John 10:17-18, NKJV). At the garden of Gethsemane Jesus was arrested, and there, was where He became a curse for all humankind. No one could have imaged the magnitude of suffering the Christ would have had to endure except those who believed in the Scriptures. According to the Prophet Isaiah in chapters 52 and 53, he reveals the torment of the Messiah being despised, rejected; bearing other’s sins and sorrows; disfigured face and bruised and battered body. Also, Jesus said at the last supper with the disciples “Drink from it (cup of wine), all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which
is shed for the remission of sins…” In the final temptation, during the last hours of Jesus existing on earth as a natural man, on route to His destiny on the Cross at Calvary many scoffed and sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God” (Luke 23:35, NKJV). Once again we see the appealing to the pride of life, the temptation of the devil. Perhaps Satan thought that the flogging and crucifixion would be too great for Jesus to bear, and that in His mangled flesh He would save Himself. Nevertheless, Jesus Christ died and rose from the dead with all power in His hand. Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God.
Lesson 2 Questions:
1. What is the key scripture to the opening passage and what is its significance?
2. Why is it important to know who Satan is?
3. Where does fear originates?
4. What is another way Satan gains strength?
5. What is Satan’s goal when he used mind manipulation on Adam and Eve?
6. How does Satan create doubt in a Believer’s mind?
7. Where in this lesson God used Satan to work out God’s plan?
8. In “The Final Temptation” what three (3) things were presented to Jesus explained in 1st John 2:16?