The Temptation of Christ
Bible Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
Have you ever been tempted? Silly question right? Who hasn’t been? Have you ever sinned? Another silly question. Both Scripture and my own experience testify to my many sin failures. Is it not amazing thing that Jesus walked through His life and ministry in this sin-filled world without ever having sinned! As we shall see, there’s much regarding this wonderful truth for which we should be incredibly thankful!
The first event recorded by Matthew after Jesus’ baptism is His temptation. Jesus was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After He had fasted forty days and forty nights, Jesus became hungry. In the face of that weakness the tempter came…” (Matthew 4:1-3). Three times our Lord was tempted. Three times He responded by quoting Scripture. Through it all He did not sin.
Jesus never sinned. Not then, not ever. He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He never thought a sinful thought, never did a sinful deed, never said a sinful word (1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15). He perfectly fulfilled the Father’s will in every respect. Never before, or since has there been anyone like Him. The Devil tempted Adam and Eve and they sinned. Sin entered into man’s existence and every other soul born since has sinned (Romans 3:23). Yet Jesus never sinned. O Blessed truth!
In his allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan likened our world to a “Vanity Fair ” where travelers are enticed by countless temptations. He wrote of the temptation of Jesus: “The Prince of Princes Himself went through this town to His own country and that upon a fair day too; yea, and as I think it was Beelzebub, the chief lord of this fair, that invited Him to buy of his vanities; yea, would have made Him lord of the fair, would He but have done him reverence as He went through the town. Yea, because He was such a person of honor, Beelzebub had Him from street to street, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a little time, that He might, if possible, allure that Blessed One to cheapen and buy some of his vanities; but He had no mind to the merchandise, and therefore left the town without laying out so much as one farthing upon these vanities.”
Jesus knew no sin—He never sinned. Because of this He was singularly qualified to be offered up as a substitutionary sacrifice for us, as a “lamb unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19). On the basis of His death and resurrection He provides salvation from sin in every respect–freedom from its penalty, power, and—in heaven—its presence.
“He was tempted in all things as we are” (Hebrews 4:15-16). Yet He never sinned. Because of this He is able to “sympathize with our weaknesses” and “come to our aid” (Hebrews 2:18). Jesus was tempted with the temptations which are “common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13)–“the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16; Cf. Genesis 3:6). But He, the Word, responded with the word (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). In this respect Jesus has provided a great example. It is as the Word, the sword of the Spirit, is treasured in our hearts that we have victory over sin (Psalm 119:11; Ephesians 6:17; 1 John 2:14; Cf. Colossians 3:16).
How precious to know in this world where sin is an ever present reality–there is One who never sinned and indeed won the victory over our greatest foe (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
Lord Jesus, how we praise You in Your utter triumph over the forces of evil! There’s been no one like You, either before, or since. That you walked on this earth in sinless perfection is a precious and amazing truth! Thank you for Your triumph at the cross, whereby You have won our salvation and victory over sin. Thank you for Your wonderful example to us in how we should respond to temptation, for it is in Your Word alone we can stand firm. Give us the strength to walk in righteousness, even as You have walked before us.
I am weak but Thou art strong
Jesus keep me from all wrong
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee