LESSONS FROM JESUS’ TEMPTATION – 3
The second temptation Satan used against Jesus after His 40 day fast in the wilderness was an appeal to Jesus’ pride. He was due recognition from all so Satan suggested an easy way to get it – by throwing Himself down from the highest part of the temple and letting angels come rescue Him in the sight of the watching crowds. If Satan wanted to defeat Jesus, why would he offer to help Him have everyone come worship Him? While this might have seemed like something that would benefit Jesus, it really was a subtle way to give him recognition without having to go to the cross. This would have been a short-cut to His Kingship – giving Him the throne of Israel without having to go through the agony of crucifixion. But if He had taken this route, then there would be no salvation for us – and that was exactly why Satan tempted Him in this way. He was willing for Jesus to have His temporary throne on earth as long as He didn’t pay for our sins in the process.
LESSON FOR TODAY 1: Pride is what motivted Satan to sin and rebel against God (Isaiah 14:13-14). It is still one of his best tools against us today (1 Timothy 3:6). There is no short-cut to maturity or spirituality, no easy way to grow. The way up is down. God exalts those who humble themselves (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). He humbles those who exalt themselves (Luke 18:14). Pride is self-centeredness, a focus on ones self. It is pride if we think we are better than others or if we think we are worse than others. Either extreme is pride, an inordinate attention to self. Either extreme is wrong. Satan doesn’t care which direction he gets us to fall as long as we fall!
Satan’s third temptation was a final desperate measure. When Adam sinner he gave temporary rulership of the world to Satan (1 John 5:19; John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12). Jesus came to pay the price for Adam’s sin, as well as ours, so that Satan would have no claim to this world system. Satan tempted Jesus to become the ruler of the world without having to go to the cross. Jesus would be serving Satan, though, and wanted nothing to do with that.
LESSON FOR TODAY 2: Satan seems to offer people today everything they want if they turn to this world system. He received ownership from Adam of the world system of values and motives as it operates today (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He tries to get us to think that we, too, can have everything we want. Adam and Eve believed this lie, and many today believe it as well. But it is a lie. It is Satan’s bait to trap people into bondage.
When Satan was unable to defeat Jesus after three tries, he left, and the angels came to minister to Jesus (Matthew 4:11). Satan wasn’t done, though. Luke 4:13 says he left but would return at an “opportune time.” He is never done; he never stops working against Jesus.
LESSON FOR TODAY 3: There will be lulls in demonic oppression against us. Often it seems oppression comes in cycles or waves. Some times things are very difficult, then it seems the attacks get milder or even disapear for awhile. But they always return. We will never have ultimate, total victory in this life. If you are going through a difficult time remember that it will one day lessen. If you are not going through a time of challenges and attackes, be prepared for when it returns. Don’t be surprised or discouraged when it returns, either. Use this rest time to refresh and prepare for the battle when it starts again.
In what areas of life are you most often tempted? Why are you tempted in that parat of your life so often? What can you do to better assure victory when those temptations come?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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