Luke 3:10-23, John 1:35-51
Last week: family departed, went to egypt, prophecy fulfilled, Herod angry, innocents massacred, angel appears, Joseph moves, settles in Nazareth (again), prophecy fulfilled, Jesus grew, grace upon Him, lost at Passover, about His father’s business, increases in wisdom stature, and favor, John hears, baptism of repentance, many came, Pharisees chastized, Messiah is coming.
John’s message to specific individuals.
So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?” He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.” Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.” Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?” So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:10-14)
A. What shall we do then? John’s instructions were quite ordinary. He demanded that people share, that they be fair with each other, and that they not be mean and cruel; that they be happy with what they get. These are things we still teach our children. Integrity in the ordinary things is still a mark of true repentance. We sometimes think God requires us to do great or impossible things to demonstrate repentance. Instead, He instead looks for integrity in the ordinary things.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
Collect no more than what is appointed for you…Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages: John did not see tax collecting or soldiering as inherently evil. He did not command these people to quit their professions, but to conduct themselves honestly in them. The Romans taxed by auctioning the rights to collect taxes to the highest bidder. Because the tax collector could only cover his costs and make a profit by getting as much as he could, these men were hated intensely.
Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not, John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” And with many other exhortations he preached to the people. (Luke 3:15-18)
A. All reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not: John made such an impact that people logically wondered if he was the Messiah. Instead of cultivating his own popularity, he gave it all to Jesus. John pointed to One mightier than he.
B. Whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose: The rabbis of Jesus’ day taught that a teacher might require just about anything of his followers except to have them take off his sandals. That was considered too humiliating to demand. Yet John said that he was not even worthy to do this for Jesus. John had many reasons to be proud, yet he was humble. He had a miraculous birth, a prophesied destiny, a man called to personally fulfill great prophetic promises, a powerful preacher, and a man with a great following.
C. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire: John said that the Messiah was coming with a different baptism. The Holy Spirit’s outpouring was promised as part of the New Covenant. We are promised an immersion, an overflowing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This was often experienced as people were prayed for with hands laid on them (Acts 6:6, 8:17, 9:17, 13:3-4, and 19:6).
But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.(Luke 3:19-20)
A. Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias: Sometimes we are asked a personal question and we blow it off by saying, “it’s complicated”. The relationship between Herod and Herodias was complicated. He was her uncle, and he seduced her from his half-brother. In marrying Herodias, Herod at once married both his niece and his sister-in-law. “Josephus said the reason for the arrest was that Herod ‘feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it in his power and inclination to raise a rebellion; for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise.’” (Barclay)
When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; (Luke 3:21)
A. When all the people were baptized: There was a remarkable response to the work of John the Baptist, and many came to repent and receive baptism. One day, in the midst of the crowd, Jesus came to also be baptized.
B. Jesus also was baptized: Jesus did not receive baptism because He was a sinner that needed to repent and be cleansed from His sins. He did it to completely identify Himself with sinful man. This was the same heart that would lead to His ultimate identification with sinful man on the cross.
C. Mark provides the same account but adds that “Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee”. Another reminder of Jesus’ Nazarene upbringing and identity. Mark also tells us that this baptism happened in the Jordan river.
And while He prayed, the heaven was opened. And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22)
A. And while He prayed: We notice Luke’s repeated emphasis on prayer. Other gospel writers describe this occasion, but only Luke points out that it happened while He prayed.
B. The Holy Spirit…and a voice came from heaven: The three Persons of the Trinity were all manifested at once. The Holy Spirit came in bodily form like a dove. The voice of God the Father was heard, and the beloved Son was baptized. There was some visible, tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit had come upon Jesus. A similar thing happened with the apostles when something like tongues of fire appeared over their heads on Pentecost.
C. You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased: The voice from heaven left no doubt. This wasn’t just another sinner being baptized; this was the sinless, Eternal Son of God, pleasing the Father by His identification with sinful man.
You are My beloved Son is an echo of Psalm 2:7.
In You I am well pleased is an echo of Isaiah 42:7, marking Jesus as the suffering Servant spoken of in that broader passage.
D. In You I am well pleased: Jesus began His earthly ministry with the blessing of the Father and the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus, we can have the same things. Through Jesus, we can hear the Father say to us, This is My beloved son, in you I am well pleased. Through Jesus, the Holy Spirit can come upon us for empowering and blessing.
E. Again, we have humble beginnings leading to great glory:
Jesus: A common, unremarkable name.
From Nazareth: An unremarkable, despised village.
Of Galilee: The Unspiritual region, not the Bible Belt of the time.
Was baptized: Identifying with sinful man.
In the Jordan: An unremarkable, filthy river. Early rabbinic teaching explicitly disqualifies the Jordan for purification according to the Mishnah, which was the first major written record of Jewish oral traditions.
The beauty is, we don’t have to be anything special to know God. There is no such thing as unworthy.
Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, (Luke 3:23)
Thirty years of age: This seems to have been the age of full maturity in the Jewish mind. Priests could begin their service only at 30 (Numbers 4:2-3).
Chapter Fifteen: The Disciples (John 1:35-51)
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and seeing them following, said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which is to say, when translated, Teacher), “where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day (now it was about the tenth hour). (John 1:35-39)
A. And they followed Jesus: John did not care about gathering disciples after himself. He was perfectly satisfied to have these disciples leave his circle and follow Jesus. It fulfilled his ministry; it did not take away from it.
B. Come and see: Jesus invited John and Andrew to be a part of His life. Jesus didn’t live a cloistered, ultra-private life. Jesus taught and discipled others by allowing them to live with Him.
C. Now it was about the tenth hour: This was such a memorable occasion that he remembered the exact hour that he met Jesus. This is a subtle clue that one of the two disciples who came to Jesus from John was the apostle John himself.
Andrew brings his brother, Simon Peter to Jesus.
One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). (John 1:40-42)
A. He found his own brother: It is the nature of Christian experience that those who enjoy the experience want to share it with others.
B. You shall be called Cephas: In giving Simon a new name (Cephas or Peter, meaning a Stone), Jesus tells Andrew’s brother what kind of man he will be transformed into. At the time, and throughout the gospel, Peter may have looked like a “rock” on the outside, but was really anything but a rock. But before Jesus is done with Peter, he will be a stone of stability for God.
C. We have found the Messiah: This Andrew’s testimony about who Jesus is. He knows that Jesus is the Messiah.
The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. (John 1:43-44)
A. Follow Me: There is nothing dramatic recorded about the call of Philip. Jesus simply says “Follow Me,” and Philip does.
Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote; Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” (John 1:45-51)
A. Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote: This is Philip’s testimony as a witness of Jesus Christ. He declares that He is the Messiah and Savior predicted in the Old Testament.
B. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? With this, Nathanael prejudices himself against Jesus. If Jesus comes from Nazareth, that is all Nathanael cares to know about Him!
C. Come and see: Instead of arguing against Nathanael’s prejudice, Phillip simply invites him to meet Jesus for himself.
D. Under the fig tree, I saw you: It is possible Nathanael liked to pray and meditate on the things of the Lord under the shade of an actual fig tree. But “under the fig tree” was a phrase Rabbis used to describe meditation on the Scriptures. Nathanael was spending time with the Lord, meditating on the Scriptures, and Jesus tells him “I saw you” there.
E. Nathanael gives his testimony regarding Jesus: You are the Son of God, the King of Israel.
F. You shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man: Jesus promises Nathanael a greater sign than he has seen before. But what does He mean by the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man? This connects with the dream of Jacob in Genesis 28:12, where Jacob saw a ladder from earth to heaven, and the angels ascending and descending upon it. Jesus says that He is the ladder, the link, between heaven and earth. When Nathanael comes to understand that Jesus is the mediator between God and man, it will be an even greater sign (you will see greater things than these).
G. Son of Man: The idea behind this phrase is not “the perfect man” or “the ideal man” or “the common man.” Instead, it is a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, where the King of Glory coming to judge the world is called the Son of Man. Jesus used this title often because in His day, it was a Messianic title free from political and nationalistic sentiment. When a Jewish person of that time heard “King” or “Christ” they often thought of a political or military savior. Jesus emphasized another term, often calling Himself the Son of Man.
H. John shows four ways of coming to Jesus:
Andrew came to Jesus because of the preaching of John.
Peter came to Jesus because of the witness of his brother.
Phillip came to Jesus as a result of the direct call of Jesus.
Nathaniel came to Jesus as he overcame personal prejudices by a personal encounter with Jesus.
This section shows us four different witnesses testifying to the identity of Jesus. How much more testimony does anyone need?
John the Baptist testified that Jesus is eternal, that He is the man uniquely anointed with the Holy Spirit, that He is the Lamb of God, and that Jesus is the unique Son of God.
Andrew testified that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ.
Phillip testified that Jesus is the One prophesied in the Old Testament.
Nathaniel testified that Jesus is the Son of God and the King of Israel.
Chapter Sixteen: The Temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4: 1-11)
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. (Matthew 4:1-2)
A. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted: After identifying with sinners in His baptism, Jesus then identified with them again in severe temptation. This was a necessary part of His ministry, so He truly was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness.
It was a remarkable contrast between the glory following Jesus’ baptism and the challenge of being tempted by the devil.
Then the cool waters of the Jordan; now the barren wilderness.
Then the huge crowds; now solitude and silence.
Then the Spirit rests like a dove; now the Spirit drives Him into the wilderness.
Then the voice of the Father calling Him “Beloved Son”; now the hiss of Satan the tempter.
Then anointed; now attacked.
Then the water of baptism; now the fire of temptation.
First the heavens opened; now hell.
Jesus did not need to be tempted to help Him grow. Instead, He endured temptation so He could identify with us (Hebrews 2:18 and 4:15), and demonstrate His own holy, sinless character. And, most importantly, to show us his victory over sin, satan, and temptation.
The Holy Spirit cannot tempt us (James 1:13) but the Holy Spirit may lead us to a place where we will be tempted. This is not to prove something to God (who knows all things), but to prove something to us.
B. Tempted by the devil: Temptation is a certainty for everyone. Yet Jesus’ temptation was more severe. It was more severe because He was tempted directly by the devil himself, while we contend mainly with lesser demons. It was also more severe because there is a sense in which temptation is “relieved” by giving in, and Jesus never did yield. Therefore He bore levels of temptation we will never know by experience. Many commentators believe it is improper to refer to this section as the temptation of Jesus, because the word peirazo is more often and more accurately translated testing instead of temptation. “Peirazein has a quite different element in its meaning. It means to test far more than it means to tempt in our sense of the word.” (Barclay)
C. He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry: Matthew points out both the barren desert (the Judean wilderness was and is exactly that), and Jesus’ severe physical condition after such a long fast. It is said that when hunger pains return after such a fast (He was hungry), it indicates the subject is beginning to starve to death. “Here was the Divine power miraculously seen, in upholding the human nature of Christ without any thing to eat: this was a miracle.” (Poole) Yet it was a miracle also evident in the lives of Moses (Exodus 34:28) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:8). It was supernatural, but not beyond human capacity when enabled by the Spirit of God.
D. Forty days and forty nights: This is a familiar period of testing in the Bible. In the Old Testament, when God destroyed the earth with water, He caused it to rain 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12). After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled to Midian, where he spent 40 years in the desert tending flocks (Acts 7:30). Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18). Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25). The Law specified a maximum number of lashes a man could receive for a crime, setting the limit at 40 (Deuteronomy 25:3). The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25). The Israelites wandered for 40 years (Deuteronomy 8:2-5). Before Samson’s deliverance, Israel served the Philistines for 40 years (Judges 13:1). Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16). When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).
The number 40 also appears in the prophecies of Ezekiel (4:6; 29:11-13) and Jonah (3:4).
In the New Testament, Jesus was tempted for 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4:2). There were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension (Acts 1:3).
The word “forty” occurs 146 times. It often deals with probation or trial but not always. It was common for ancient Jews to use the word “forty” to describe a long period though not specifically 40 calendar days or years. It had strong symbolic meaning to the Jews, outside Biblical writings. The Hebrews, and many other cultures, used 40 as the cycle of their annual calendar. Islam uses forty even more than Christianity. It is also prominent in Hinduism. It is also prominent in U.S. sports: 40 players on a MLB roster, and 40 cars in a NASCAR race. Forty is also the highest number ever counted on Sesame Street. It is the number of squares on a Monopoly board. More Monopoly money is printed each year than real money worldwide.
Some Bible scholars hold that 40 days is literally forty days while others hold that forty days simply means a long time because that is the way the phrase was commonly used to the time of the writings. Like the way we use the word “month” to mean 28 days, 30 days, 31 days, or some time period about that long.
The lesson is that it doesn’t matter. The Bible does not specifically assign any special significance to the number forty. Some people place great emphasis on numerology and try to find some special meaning behind every number in the Bible. Often, a number in the Bible is simply a number. God does not call us to search for secret meanings, hidden messages, or divine codes in the Bible. There is plenty of truth in the plain words. As 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. We are complete without numerology.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4;3-4)
A. We should consider the circumstances that preceded the temptation of Jesus because is indicates how we, too, can overcome temptation:
He was in an especially devout frame of mind before His temptation.
He was engaged in an act of public obedience to His Father’s will before His temptation.
He was in an exceedingly frame of mind before His temptation.
He was blessed by a heavenly assurance of His Sonship before His temptation.
He was filled with the Holy Spirit before His temptation.
He was completely separated from the world before His temptation.
B. Command that these stones become bread: This was a temptation to use God’s gifts for selfish purposes. To make what you want. Each of these temptations have modern applications: take this credit card and make a big screen TV.
This wasn’t a temptation to miraculously create great riches or luxuries, only bread. The Bible has many accounts of miraculous provision, some at the hands of Jesus. Yet Jesus would not command that these stones become bread, especially at the instigation of Satan.
C. But He answered: Jesus didn’t silently disagree with Satan, He answered him – and He answered him from the Word of God. What Satan suggested made sense – “Why starve yourself to death?” But what is written makes even more sense.
D. It is written: By relying on the power and truth of God’s Word, Jesus was willing to fight this battle as a man; He could have easily rebuked Satan into another galaxy, but resisted Him in a way that we can imitate and identify with. Jesus used Scripture to battle Satan’s temptation, not some elaborate spiritual power inaccessible to us. Jesus fought this battle as a man and He drew on no “special resources” unavailable to us. “Out flashed the sword of the Spirit: our Lord will fight with no other weapon. He could have spoken new revelations, but chose to say, ‘It is written.’” (Spurgeon) He could have stood against Satan with a display of His own glory; He could have stood against Satan with logic and reason. Instead, Jesus used the word of God as a weapon against Satan and temptation.
He used a weapon to defeat temptation.
He used a weapon that was effective because He understood it.
E. Youth have been caught up in the WWJD movement. Bracelets, rings, shirts, books, advertisements. The concept is good: in a situation, before you screw up, ask your self what Jesus would do in your shoes and mimic Him.
Ask a teenager WWJD – “well, i think……” Teenage opinion and conjecture. How many thousands of hours have teenagers spent speculating what Jesus would do after singing infinite refrains of a watered down praise song?
The question should be “What Did Jesus Do?” What did Jesus do when confronted with temptation? What did Jesus do when exposed to immorality? What did Jesus do when Pharisees ridiculed him? What did Jesus do when men sought to kill him? The question must not direct Christians away from the Bible, toward their own opinion , but rather from their own opinion to the Bible.
The WWJD bracelet encourages us to come up with an ethical solution on our own; what we think to be the right answer. Ask 10 teenage a tough doctrinal question and the WWJD logic will get you 10 different answers. What they need, is to know what the Bible says, not how they feel. We have 2 essential tools: the testimony of Christ’s life, and all the commandments and guidance in the Bible.
WWJD relies on SE as a means to please God. Decisions are based on what the person believes Christ will do in a given situation, rather than relying on what the Word of God already states and commands believers. Our ethics should not rely on our opinions and feelings but be founded in what Jesus actually did in scripture. The scripture is our authority. Not our hypothetical opinion driven by situational ethics.
We effectively resist temptation in the same way Jesus did: by countering Satan’s seductive lies by shining the light of God’s truth upon them. If we are ignorant of God’s truth, we are poorly armed in the fight against temptation.
3. The second temptation: an appeal to the pride of life.
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’” (Matthew 4:5-7)
Tempting God and expecting Him to provide a miraculous physical salvation is nothing new. Even today, Christian Scientists refuse medical treatment and expect God to physically rescue them.
A. If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down: Satan is tempting Jesus to “force” the Father into a supernatural event. Satan appeals to the desire within every man to sense approval from God and to have that approval publicly demonstrated.
Set Him on the pinnacle of the temple: The pinnacle of the temple was 200 feet high. A leap from there, and the appearance of the promised angelic protection, would be a remarkable spectacle. The devil’s suggestion was an artificially created crisis. Jesus just had this kind of spectacular demonstration at His baptism (Matthew 3:17).
B. For it is written: The devil can use this phrase also. He quotes Scripture, and we can trust that the devil has memorized the Bible and is an expert at quoting it, out of context, to confuse and defeat those he tempts. This time, the devil quoted Psalm 91:11-12, and took it out of its context to say, “Go ahead, Jesus; if You do this the Bible promises angels will rescue You, and it will be spectacular self-promotion.” The Psalm passage is talking about spiritual protection for those who follow God’s will – not physical protection from those who tempt God.
“Truth may be abused to the patronage of lies; and that there is no hook more dangerous to the members of Christ, than that which is baited with Scripture misinterpreted and misapplied.” (Poole) We have a good example right down the in the Exodus Metropolitan Community Church.
This text is wrongly applied, because it was not used to teach or encourage, but instead to deceive. “Making this word a promise to be fulfilled upon Christ’s neglect of his duty; extending the promise of special providence as to dangers into which men voluntarily throw themselves.” (Poole)
Jesus understood from His knowledge of the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27) that Satan was twisting this passage from Psalm 91. Jesus knew how to rightly use the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Sadly, many are willing to believe anyone who quotes from the Bible today. A preacher can pretty much say whatever he wants if he quotes a few proof-texts, and people will assume that he really speaks from the Bible. It is important for each Christian to know the Bible for themselves, and to not be deceived by someone who quotes the Bible but not accurately or with correct application.
Nowhere is this concept more evident than in our news media. Truth and honesty are replaced with ratings and profits. The left wing media says “ObamaCare is great” and site a few isolated circumstances along with huge speculation. The right wing media says, “ObamaCare is a disaster” and site a few isolated circumstances along with huge speculation. Both outlets could put together a complete, rational, analysis but that would not incite their viewers or drive ratings and profits. We can’t believe what we hear because it is so out of context.
C. It is written again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” Jesus replied with Scripture, but applied correctly. He knew that attempting to force or manipulating God the Father into such a demonstration would tempt God, which the Scriptures strictly forbid. This warns us against demanding something spectacular from God to prove His love or concern for us. He has already given the ultimate demonstration of His love for us at the cross (Romans 5:8), and He can do nothing more “spectacular” than that.
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Matthew 4:8-10)
A. All these things I will give You: Essentially, this vision invited Jesus to take a shortcut around the cross. Jesus came to win all the kingdoms of the world and their glory back from Satan’s domain, and Satan offers them to Jesus, if He will only fall down and worship him.
Today, we are constantly bombarded with this sort of temptation in the media. The says, “look at all this – you can have it!” Watch a Coors beer commercial. Everyone is attractive, intelligent, and the beer drinker is vitally popular. Now go to a real bar and there is not the slightest similarity. We are deceived.
Jesus could lay claim to all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and do so without enduring the cross. “The danger is greatest when the end is good.” (Bruce)
All Jesus would have to do is give Satan what he has been longing for ever since he fell from glorious to profane: worship and recognition from God Himself. This is a revealing insight into Satan’s heart; worship and recognition are far more precious to him than the possession of the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He is still the one who said I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. (Isaiah 14:13-14)
B. I will give You: Evidently, Satan has authority over this world and its governments. The temptation could not have been real unless there is some real sense that Satan does “possess” all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Adam and his descendants gave the devil this authority. God gave Adam the earth as a stewardship (Genesis 1:28-30), and Adam willingly turned it over to Satan. After that, all Adam’s descendants cast their vote of approval by their personal sin.
C. Away with you, Satan! For it is written: Jesus replied with Scripture again, and commanded the devil to leave. In the same way we can resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7). It worked for Jesus (Then the devil left Him) and it will work for us. “The word of God has a power in it to quail and to quash Satan’s temptations, far better than that wooden dagger, that leaden sword of the Papists, their holy water, crossings, grains, dirty relics . . . It is not the sign of the cross, but the word of the cross, that overthrows Satan.” (Trapp) The temptations of Jesus also remind us that it is no sin to be tempted, as long as the temptation is resisted. Even horrible temptations – Jesus was tempted to worship Satan – are not sin if they are resisted.
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:11)
A. Then the devil left Him means that Jesus won. He won because He recognized Satan’s mode of attack: lies and deception. Primarily, Satan is a deceiver, and for those who live in light of the cross, deception is his only tool, because demonic powers were disarmed at the cross of their “real” weapons and power (Colossians 2:15). But deception is extremely effective at leading us into sin, and at causing us to live lives of fear and unbelief.
Jesus showed the only effective counter to deception: God’s truth, not man’s wisdom. First, we must see temptation for what it is – a lie. Then, we must combat temptation with the word of God. Then, we must always build ourselves up in the truth, and have it in our heart.
Jesus thought this was important for us to know; only He could have told the Gospel writers what happened when He was tempted in the Judean wilderness. We need to learn from this; to learn how we can overcome temptation, but even more importantly how Jesus overcame temptation on our behalf and succeeded as the sinless Son of God where Adam and Moses and all others had failed.
B. Behold, angels came and ministered to Him: God never forsakes those who endure through temptation. Even as angels came and ministered to Jesus, God will find a way to minister to us and meet our needs as we endure temptation.
“These holy beings might not come upon the scene while the battle was being fought, lest they should seem to divide the honors of the day; but when the duel was ended, they hastened to bring food for the body, and comfort for the mind of the champion King.” (Spurgeon)
Next week, we go to a wedding and have some heavenly wine.