Micro-Observations: Jesus’ Temptation


Temptation of Christ by Eric Armusik

When the Bible (Matthew 4:1-11) says Jesus was tempted, I believe it.

Jesus was hungry and Satan tried to appeal to this very physical, very human need.

“Command that these stones become bread.”

It seems rather innocuous. What could be sinful, tempting about eating? His fast was apparently finished. (“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.”)

I think the answer lies in Jesus’ response.

Jesus knew the suggestion to turn stones into bread was not of His Father. He knew that allowing physical wants and physical needs to take precedence over God’s will, to listen to Satan’s voice even if it seems logical, was dangerous and only leads to more trouble, to sin. So, He said no.

Even though He was hungry.

Even though He hadn’t eaten for forty days and nights.

FORTY!

I can’t even imagine how hungry, how powerful that physical pull would have been.

So… here Jesus is, weak with hunger, and Satan comes in a second time and makes Him try to doubt what He knows to be true. Satan tries to use His weakness to make Him doubt what God has told Him, what God has planned for Him, created Him to be.

“If You are the Son of God….”

And then Satan proceeds to twist Scripture, to contort God’s Word to create confusion. Satan tries to begin a slow unraveling of Jesus’ belief in His Father.

But Jesus doesn’t allow this to fly either. In His (Jesus’) vulnerability He relies on His (The Father’s) strength.

Finally, Satan tries to appeal to entice Him to succumb to lust.

“<The devil> … Showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory…”

The story is well known. The ‘glory’ of the kingdoms of the world entirely too relatable, too imaginable, too tempting…

Maybe that is why at this point, Jesus orders Satan to be gone.

I have read this story, heard this story a million times but this time, this time I realized a few things.

1. Jesus is fully Divine as well as fully human. He is the one with whom God is well-pleased. Yet, Jesus was still tempted. He was not exempt from trouble. It is kind of mind-blowing.

2. Jesus experienced and resisted temptations regarding the physical body and its desires. Jesus experienced and resisted temptations regarding self-doubt and self-worth. Jesus experienced and resisted temptations regarding lust. When I come to Him with things I struggle with – no matter what they are – He gets it, truly gets it. He more than understands.

3. Jesus – fully God, fully man – needed angels to care for Him. Who am I to hide my struggles and try to do it on my own. Who am I to think that if Jesus needed support, I do not?

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