Sabbath, February 21, 2009
“‘The prince of this world cometh,’ said Jesus, ‘and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us…. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 123.
TEMPTED AS WE
1. After the glorious scene at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan, where was He led? Why?
Luke 4:1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
Matthew 4: 1, 2 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
“He did not invite temptation. He went to the wilderness to be alone, to contemplate His mission and work. By fasting and prayer He was to brace Himself for the bloodstained path He must travel. But Satan knew that the Saviour had gone into the wilderness, and he thought this the best time to approach Him.…
“When Jesus entered the wilderness, He was shut in by the Father’s glory. Absorbed in communion with God, He was lifted above human weakness. But the glory departed, and He was left to battle with temptation. It was pressing upon Him every moment. His human nature shrank from the conflict that awaited Him.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 114, 118.
2. After fasting for forty days, what temptation did Jesus face?
Luke 4:2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.
Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
“For forty days He fasted and prayed. Weak and emaciated from hunger, worn and haggard with mental agony, ‘His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.’ Isaiah 52:14. Now was Satan’s opportunity….
“It was in the time of greatest weakness that Christ was assailed by the fiercest temptations. Thus Satan thought to prevail. By this policy he had gained the victory over men. When strength failed, and the will power weakened, and faith ceased to repose in God, then those who had stood long and valiantly for the right were overcome…. Satan has taken advantage of the weakness of humanity. And he will still work in the same way. Whenever one is encompassed with clouds, perplexed by circumstances, or afflicted by poverty or distress, Satan is at hand to tempt and annoy. He attacks our weak points of character. He seeks to shake our confidence in God, who suffers such a condition of things to exist. We are tempted to distrust God, to question His love…. If we would meet him as Jesus did, we should escape many a defeat.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 118, 120, 121.
THE FIRST TEMPTATION
3. Although Jesus was extremely hungry and weak, what was His reponse to the devil’s temptation to use His divine power to supply His own needs?
Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
“Jesus met Satan with the words of Scripture. ‘It is written,’ He said. In every temptation the weapon of His warfare was the word of God. Satan demanded of Christ a miracle as a sign of His divinity. But that which is greater than all miracles, a firm reliance upon a ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ was a sign that could not be controverted. So long as Christ held to this position, the tempter could gain no advantage.…
“Often the follower of Christ is brought where he cannot serve God and carry forward his worldly enterprises. Perhaps it appears that obedience to some plain requirement of God will cut off his means of support…. But the only thing in our world upon which we can rely is the word of God…. Even in this life it is not for our good to depart from the will of our Father in heaven. When we learn the power of His word, we shall not follow the suggestions of Satan in order to obtain food or to save our lives. Our only questions will be, What is God’s command? and what His promise?” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 120, 121.
THE SECOND ATTACK
4. In his second temptation, what was Satan asking Jesus to prove?
Matthew 4:5, 6 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
5. How did Jesus respond to this challenge? What was the result?
Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
“Bear in mind that it is none but God that can hold an argument with Satan (Letter 206, 1906).
“Jesus would not place Himself in peril to please the devil. But how many today can stand a dare? (MS 17, 1893).” –S.D.A. Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1083.
“Jesus declared to Satan, ‘It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’…
“Often when Satan has failed of exciting distrust, he succeeds in leading us to presumption. If he can cause us to place ourselves unnecessarily in the way of temptation, he knows that the victory is his. God will preserve all who walk in the path of obedience; but to depart from it is to venture on Satan’s ground…. The Saviour has bidden us, ‘Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.’ Mark 14:38. Meditation and prayer would keep us from rushing unbidden into the way of danger….” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 125, 126.
THE THIRD TEMPTATION
6. What deceptive offer did Satan then present to the Redeemer?
Matthew 4:8, 9 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
“Christ’s mission could be fulfilled only through suffering. Before Him was a life of sorrow, hardship, and conflict, and an ignominious death. He must bear the sins of the whole world. He must endure separation from His Father’s love. Now the tempter offered to yield up the power he had usurped.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 129.
7. How did Jesus respond to this alluring and deceptive offer? What did His firm and clear answer show? What assurance does Christ’s victory over this and every other temptation give us?
Matthew 4:10,11 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Hebrew 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrew 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
“With the same temptation Satan approaches men, and here he has better success than with Christ.…
“Satan had no power to resist the command…. He was forced to withdraw from the presence of the world’s Redeemer. Christ’s victory was as complete as had been the failure of Adam.
“So we may resist temptation, and force Satan to depart from us. Jesus gained the victory through submission and faith in God, and by the apostle He says to us, ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.’ James 4:7, 8. We cannot save ourselves from the tempter’s power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our own strength, we shall become a prey to his devices; but ‘the name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.’ Proverbs 18:10. Satan trembles and flees before the weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 130, 131.
“Many look on this conflict between Christ and Satan as having no special bearing on their own life; and for them it has little interest. But within the domain of every human heart this controversy is repeated. Never does one leave the ranks of evil for the service of God without encountering the assaults of Satan. The enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find it so difficult to withstand. They were urged upon Him in as much greater degree as His character is superior to ours.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 116, 117.