When the devil had finished every temptation tempting Jesus, he left Him until the next opportunity came.Luke 4:13
Is there a connection between Jesus temptations and those of Adam and Eve? What does it mean in Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” How was Jesus tempted in every way as we are? Was He tempted in all the ways that man can be tempted? It is like Shelley said in yesterday’s Gem, “The foundational lies are the issue, otherwise we will think (as I first thought) that Jesus was tempted with pedophilia, homosexuality, mass murder etc ….endless and bizarre!”? Does “every temptation” indeed mean every temptation known to man?
How did Satan tempt Adam and Eve? He tempted them in three ways.
- The fruit was good for food. Adam and Eve didn’t need that fruit. They had a thousand other fruits and vegetables to eat.
- The fruit was a delight to the eyes. Now this is not simply that the fruit was good to look at. This was more covetousness. “I want that fruit even though God said I can’t have it. I want it.”
- The fruit was desirous to make one wise. As though God hadn’t told them the full story. He was keeping something back from them. This temptation spoke to their pride. They could be like God!
These three sins represented the categories of sin that affect everyone. It is in this way that Jesus was tempted in every way such as we are.
We are tripartite beings (made up of body, soul and spirit).
Tested in the area of our physical needs compared with our desires. (food, drink, sex, pleasure, etc.) Tested in the soulish part of man – that which pertains to our wants, our desires and our covetousness. We are full of pride and feel the world revolves us. Tested our spiritual makeup. Who is God here? What is the focus of our worship? Are we willing to worship another, other than God. Or do we even think like Adam and Eve that we can take over the role of God in our own lives?
All sin pretty much fits into these three categories.
With the first sin satan was tempting Christ to satisfy his own physical needs. Jesus chose not to take care of things Himself. He choose to be satisfied with what God provided for Him rather than choose to take care of Himself. Taking care of things yourself is tantamount to saying God hasn’t done a good enough job. I need to take matters into my own hands. God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed and more. Yet because He said “You can’t eat from this tree” that became the focus of their desires. Isn’t that so like us humans? What is forbidden is what we want, even when what is forbidden has the power to hurt us; we still want it just because it has been forbidden.
In the second sin in Matthew’s order satan tempted Christ in the soulish area. Is the bottom line that you want what you want and will do anything to get it? Or can you yield to God’s will for you and not insist on your own? In the second temptation according to Matthew’s order the will is in focus. Whose will is going to be done? Can we say like Jesus, “Not my will but Yours be done”. Or it is all a matter of testing God to the nth degree so that we get our own way. If you really loved me God you would give me what I WANT.
In the 3rd of Matthew’s temptations the issue is worship. Our spirits are in focus here. Who is on the throne of our lives. When it comes down to it, the first commandment is being tested. Some of us replace God with a man-made-God. The idols in our lives or the carved images that Isaiah castigates Israel over. But for most of us the issue is that we wish to be God. Oh we wouldn’t say it like that. But we constantly take the throne of our own lives. To whom do we give our allegiance and our worship? That is the operative question you will always have to answer in your life. Who is on the throne? Who is God in your life? You? Something else? Or God Himself?
Many commentators think that with the 2nd temptation (3rd in Luke’s list) Jesus is being asked to prove he is the Son of God. I don’t think proving that He is Son of God is in focus here. There is certainly no need for Jesus to prove it. He knows who He is, where He came from and where He is going to. (John 13:3) I think it is a willful thing. God are you really there for me or have you left me? This temptation is so frivolous. There is no need for Jesus to want to test the Father in this way. It is pointless. But much of what we do when it comes to our own will is pointless. It is indeed no more than a clash of wills.
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”Romans 5:18-19
This verse is such an interesting one. Adam yielded his position and the glory he had with God in a simple act of disobedience. Effectively what he did was to yield his mandate to rule and have dominion to satan. He wanted to do things his way. This is what sin is all about. It is what says to God, “I don’t need you. I can take care of this myself.” When you do all that God given authority is forfeited and you are on your own. In the same way true righteousness can only come from God. That is why our righteousness must be the righteous of God and not our own righteousness. We don’t have any. But so many of us want to work it out by our own effort and make ourselves “right with God”. Little realizing that we can’t ever do it. This again is a clash of wills – God’s way or ours. But our pride gets in the way.
- Turning stones to bread says I can take care of my own needs.
- Throwing myself off the temple roof would be a pointless little test to see if God is still looking after me.
Accepting even for a moment the glory the world gives is to turn our back on God and say I will give my allegiance to another. The moment we do we are not loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and we are certainly not worshipping Him only.
There you have it. No, my view is not as Michael thought that the temptations follow the pattern of 1 John 2:16 in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life”. I think it is more a division along the lines of physical temptation, emotional / soulish temptation and spiritual temptation or worship and allegiance. But I confess to wondering why again Luke changed the order to deal with worship second and not leave it last as Matthew does. A look at Bible Gem 800 will show that Jesus is going back to the Covenant by choosing the quote from Deuteronomy 6. Maybe that is why Luke chose to switch the order. But it makes more sense if Matthew had switched the order for that reason and not Luke. Luke ought to have stayed with a Body, Soul and Spirit order, especially as the doctor. Matthew, the writer of the Jewish Gospel ought to have been the one to switch to making the Covenant the focus; not Luke the Gentile. If it had been the other way round I would feel that has to be the answer. But because it is in fact the opposite it leaves me unsatisfied.
The only thing I can do it leave it in the “too hard basket”, in residue and keep pondering on it. Next Gem we will move on from the Temptations much to the delight of some of you I am sure.
You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.C. S. Lewis
The man is spirit, possesses a soul and lives in the body. Take care of all of yourself.Anon
Be aware that satan will attack you, body, soul and spirit in anyway he can.Anon
I don’t forgive people because I’m weak. I forgive them because I am strong enough to know people make mistakes.Arthavina Pratiwi
If your past keeps calling… Don’t Answer.. It has nothing NEW to say!Arthavina Pratiwi
The bigger a man’s head gets, the easier it is to fill his shoes!Rick Godwin