Jesus Confronts Evil

MEMORY VERSE: “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” —Hebrews 2:18

MATTHEW 4:1-11; HEBREWS 4:14-16

IT WOULD seem that Jesus’ first important experience after his baptism was to be “led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.” In the wilderness Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights. The Scriptures do not indicate just how he occupied himself during this time, but since Jesus was intensely interested in doing his Heavenly Father’s will we may safely assume that he spent much time in holy meditation on the things of the Old Testament which had been written concerning him.

Jesus was a perfect man, and would therefore have a perfect memory. Doubtless prior to his baptism he had access to manuscript copies of the Old Testament Scriptures and would now have well in mind what they contained. Under the enlightening power of the Holy Spirit which came upon him at his baptism, he would now be able to grasp the meaning of what had been written, and could discover his own role in the plan of God very clearly.

That role, of course, was to be one of sacrifice and suffering, even unto death. He knew that miracle-working power was now at his command, but he knew also that this was not to be used for his own preservation. He knew that he was the Son of God, and that it would be sin on his part to expect his Heavenly Father to give him any further demonstration of this fact. He knew that in the plan of God the due time would come when he would be King of earth, the “King of kings, and Lord of lords”; but he knew that it would be sin to do anything which would change the divine timetable respecting the time when he would become the world’s Ruler.

We do not know the extent to which the Devil understood these points. Perhaps not at all, but he was well aware of human weaknesses. Had he not caused the downfall of Adam thousands of years before this? So, when Jesus came out of the wilderness, Satan appeared to tempt him. He suggested to Jesus that he use the power now available to him to turn stones into bread. Jesus had been fasting for forty days and would certainly be hungry, and this suggestion might well influence one who was less loyal to the Word of God.

But it did not influence Jesus. His reply was, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Jesus knew that even though he should starve to death at that time, it would not take away his eternal existence if he remained loyal to the Word of God.

Satan’s second temptation was that Jesus cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple and thus demonstrate that he was truly the Son of God. The first two temptations were predicated upon the statement, “If thou be the Son of God.” We found in last week’s lesson that Jesus was given assurance of his sonship by a “voice from heaven.” To insist on further proof would be wrong, and his reply to Satan was, “It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

But Satan tried again. This time he offered Jesus all the kingdoms of this world if he would fall down and worship him. As we have noted, Jesus knew that in due time he would receive these kingdoms from God, and he certainly did not propose to take them on the Devil’s terms, so he replied, “Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.”—Deut. 6:13

For the time being the Devil ceased to tempt Jesus, who received the rich blessing of having angels minister unto him. What strength he must have received from this ministry! Paul refers to Jesus as our great High Priest. He wrote, “For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with a feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are.”

This thought is again emphasized in our memory verse. We are tempted by the weaknesses of our fallen flesh. Jesus did not share in these experiences, for his flesh was perfect. We are tempted by Satan and the world, but the Lord gives us strength and help to keep our imperfect bodies under as we endeavor to do his will.


Name the three great temptations presented to Jesus by Satan, and explain their significance.

What assurance is given to us by Jesus’ faithfulness in temptation?

Dawn Bible Students Association
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