7. Matthew 4:1-11
Just after Jesus' baptism signifying the beginning of his public ministry and just before he begins to preach and call his disciples, he has this encounter with the devil. Finding Jesus in a weakened state after fasting for forty days the devil tempts Jesus to abuse the power he has to take care of his own needs. He is first tempted to relieve his hunger by turning stones into bread. Second, he is tempted to show his power by jumping off the highest point of the temple for all to see. And thirdly he is tempted to worship one other than God by bowing down to the devil. Each time Jesus is tempted he rebukes Satan by quoting the word of God. 1 John chapter 2 describes the ways that we are tempted in this world.
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world --- the lust of the flesh, the lust of his eyes, and the boasting of what he has and does --- comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:15-17
There is a parallel between 1 John 2 and the temptation of Jesus. 1. Turn these stones into bread. (lust of the flesh) 2. Show your power to these people. (the boastful pride of life) 3. Look at these kingdoms I can give you. (lust of the eyes) The same categories of temptation happened in the garden to Eve as well. 1. Satan says, "did God really say, 'you must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (boastful pride of life) 2. Satan says, "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil." (lust of the flesh to be like God) 3. Then she saw that the fruit was good for food and pleasing to the eye. (lust of the eyes)
Make no mistake that the devil knows how to tempt. He knows what makes us tick. He knows to attack us through the things we desire the most, the lust of the flesh, the lust of our eyes, and the boasting of what we have and do. I also think it is interesting that Satan chose to tempt Jesus just as he was beginning his ministry. So we too should expect to be tempted just as we are about to do great things for God.
May we guard our hearts and our eyes from lust and pride as we do the will of God in this world.