The Temptation of Jesus

After Jesus had been baptized, the Holy Spirit led him out in the country where nobody lived. He was alone there for 40 days with only wild animals around. During that time he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing for the 40 days, and when they were over, he was hungry.

Then the devil came again to tempt Jesus. The devil told him, "If you are the son of God, tell these rocks to become bread." Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, "It is written, "a person does not live only by eating food, but by listening to every word that comes from God's mouth."

Then the devil took Jesus to the city of Jerusalem. He put Jesus on a very high place on top of the Jewish temple, and said, "If you are the son of God, Jump off." Then he quoted Psalm 91:11-12 to Jesus: "It is written, "God will command his angels to take care of you, and their hands will catch you, so that you will not hit your foot on a rock." He left out the last part of verse 11, "In all your ways." Jumping off the temple was not one of the things that Jesus was supposed to do-it was not one of the "Ways" of Jesus. That's why the devil left that part of the verse out. But Jesus knew that the devil was trying to change the meaning of the scripture, so he answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, it is also written, you must not put the lord your God to the test."

Then the devil took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain. There in a moment of time he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and all the great things that were in those kingdoms. Then he said to Jesus, "I will give you all the authority and the glory of these kingdoms, because it has been given to me and I can give to anyone I wish. If only you will bow down and worship me, it will all be yours." But Jesus Knew it was not right to worship anyone or anything except God alone. He answered by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13, "it is written, you must worship the lord your God, and serve only him!"

After this the devil quit tempting Jesus and left him to wait until a better time. Jesus was tempted many different times in his lifetime in all kinds of ways, but he never gave in to the devil and so he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Because he has been tempted, he can understand our weaknesses and help us when we are tempted to sin (Hebrews 2:16)

There are other lessons that can be learned from Jesus' temptation. For one thing, he was tempted just after he was baptized. Some people think that when they are baptized, they won't be tempted anymore. But this is when the devil really starts to work, because he knows that if he can't get a person to turn back to a life of sin, he has lost them. They will go to heaven instead of to hell with him. God never promises that the Christian will not be tempted, but that he will have help to overcome the temptation (rom. 8:13 1 Cor. 10:13). And if he resists the devil in this way, the devil will leave him like he left Jesus (James 4:7).

Another thing to learn is that the devil can quote the Bible, but he quotes it in such a way that he changes the meaning. So today there are many different people saying that the bible says many different things. It doesn't really. But each person must study the bible for himself to make sure what the bible is saying. You can't take anybody else's word for it, not even mine. God will hold you personally responsible for what you did with his word.

Another lesion to learn from Jesus' Temptation is that the devil often lies (John 8:44). He promises many things but he does not give them. We, like Jesus, need to see that he is lying and answer him with quotations from the bible, which is God's truth. Jesus was tempted with pleasure and pride and greed. We too are tempted with these same things in different ways. We too need to say "No" to them. For Jesus is our example.

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