Journey to the Resurrection
The Season Leading to Easter Sunday: Lent
Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word “lencten”, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
So, our “tone” for the next 5 Sundays will be a bit more sober as we remember that part of our discipleship is the putting off of the old self so that the new self is dominant (Ephesians 4:17-24).
Preliminary Truths Regarding Our Text
Luke 4:1-13 serves as a bridge between Jesus baptism and the beginning of his public ministry.
1. Sandwiched between empowerment and ministry is a season of testing.
Perhaps this is the mark of the Christian life. If that’s the pattern with Jesus, and we are to follow Jesus, perhaps that is the pattern of Christian growth. Empowerment, testing, ministry.
Deuteronomy 8:3-5 “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.”
We should not expect effective ministry without effective empowerment and testing. We can’t embrace and celebrate resurrection without accepting death as a means to attaining to the resurrection.
2. Jesus, under the leadership of the Spirit, is the Father’s agent, and this is what is going to be tested in Jesus’ encounter with Satan.
We are ambassadors of the kingdom. Satan will test that work and challenge it and bring about doubt in it. We must resist him.
“In the OT and in subsequent Jewish tradition, fidelity to God was proven in the midst of testing – whether by the direct action of God himself, through difficult circumstances, by the direct activity of God himself, or by the direct activity of the devil.”
3. God is not the tempter, but he’s in charge of when the Tempter get’s access to us
4. Jesus is all man, and while also all God, does not take advantage of his deity
“We must keep several things in mind if we are to understand this and the epic combat that follows. Most essential is the realness or completeness of the incarnation of Jesus. Many Christians do not understand this though they affirm that they believe it, because nestled in their understanding of the incarnation is the thought that though Christ had a human body, his mind was not completely human. Such thinking is an unwitting version of the ancient heresy of docetism – that Christ only seemed to be a man.”
“But the Scriptures affirm otherwise. In the words of the writer of Hebrews, Christ ‘had to be made like his brothers in every respect’ (Hebrews 2:17). Jesus did not merely resemble humankind in some qualities of humanity. Rather, in ever respect – in all things he was made like us. Christ’s likeness was not simulated but absolute (cf. Philippians 2:7) – except that he had no sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15).”
A. Jesus secured the truth that temptation can be wrangled with and defeated.
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Note Some Parallels and a Major Contrast Between Israel and Jesus
(Important because Jesus is going to take his passages for defeating temptation from Israel’s challenge in the wilderness found in Deuteronomy 6-8.)
Jesus’ testing is similar to that experienced by Israel
Jesus cites texts from the events where Israel was tested by God (Deuteronomy 6-8, the place where Jesus takes his passages from to refute Satan’s temptations.)
Divine leading into the wilderness (Deut. 8:2; cf. Luke 4:1)
“And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.”
Forty (years/days) (Ex. 16:35; Num. 14:34; Deut. 8:2; cf. Luke 4:2)
Israel as God’s son/Jesus, the Son of God (Ex. 4:22-23; cf. Luke 4:3, 9)
Major Contrast: Jesus followed the leading of the Spirit and obeyed; Israel rebelled and grieved the Spirit (Luke 4:1-13; Isaiah 63:10)
Isaiah 63:10 “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them.”
The Temptation of Jesus
Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5 both call the Devil “the Tempter.”
Satan is a tempter. Satan’s legions are tempters after their leader.
2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that Satan comes disguised as an angel of light.
Satan incites active and open rebellion against the kingdom of God in culturally appropriate and acceptable values sometimes dressed up in Christian garb when all the while it’s a trap door that leads to a broad way that leads to destruction and many enter through it.
Temptation is part of the warfare of living as agents of the kingdom inside of enemy held territory.
Satan is sure to bring temptations, and he is cunning with his temptations.
Illustration: Temptations to just quit on a global trip: THE KEY?: DISGUISE
- Demonic temptation to call off a trip to teach ST in Africa the day of leaving with darkness, foreboding (I even called Nathan Hicks and made sure he would be ready to help out if I didn’t come home), devastated children, the OVERARCHING THOUGHTS OF MY MIND TELLING ME that God was warning me to stay lest I die,
- the overt and out loud voice telling me it’s name was fear and intended to have me,
- the perfect English speaking voice telling me my sister was dead in a room full of non English speaking men while trying to sleep,
- then getting back to the capital to have one of the American workers flake out on me some 40 miles from help and me having to drive a 20 foot mitsubishi flat bed truck in which all the stuff is Brittish and on the wrong side and all the traffic is British and on the wrong side of the road, back to the central hub in Lilongwe and
- to top it all off I had pneumonia. Not even joking.
TEMPTATION 1 v. 3-4
The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’”
Temptation: Provide for his material needs apart from the will of the Father, and to go outside of the natural order to do so, thus momentarily suspending living like a real man.
Jesus’ Answer: Deuteronomy 8:3 “Man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
By alluding to Deuteronomy 8:3 Jesus was saying that he will not complain and will not take matters into his own hands.
Application: Rather than trusting God we may give in to the temptation to go beyond the parameters of God’s word to satisfy our personal needs and desires.
TEMPTATION 2 V. 5-8
“And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God,and him only shall you serve.”
Temptation: Take the easy way out to inherit a kingdom in exchange for your worship.
Satan would then replace the Father as the one who gives Jesus’ the kingdom (The Promises of the Father: Luke 1:32-33; Psalm 2:8)
“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”
Jesus’ Answer: Deuteronomy 6:13 “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.”
No improper ease.
Application: The lure of pop culture is to avoid pain and take the easy way. Go with the cultural trends. Take the path of least resistance. Go with the assumed realities. Don’t challenge those realities with facts. Facts are stubborn little things that cause grief.
Pop theology is worldly lies dressed up in Christian t-shirts and accepted as socially acceptable soundbites.
“All those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
TEMPTATION 3 V. 9-12
And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. ’” And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test. ’”
Temptation: Believe Satan’s hermeneutic or God’s?
Satan’s interpretive framework has Jesus avoiding the cross in favor of supernatural rescue. Satan found a passage to prove his point.
God’s interpretive framework would have Jesus inherit a kingdom via the cross. Jesus submits to the point of the passage
Both Jesus and Satan quote Scripture here. Why prefer one reading over the other?
Here’s why: Jesus is radically committed to one aim, the Father’s aim and method: Bring all things under the rule of Christ through the death of Christ and the resurrection of Christ in the power of the Spirit.
Satan has an alternative aim: Keep all things under the curse.
Jesus’ Answer: Deuteronomy 6:16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Jesus refused to force the Father to act.
Application: Never seek to force the Father into acting on your behalf.
Don’t swan dive into a marital relationship that does not have God’s approval.
Don’t misapply God’s word, then cry out for rescue before you hit rock bottom.
Don’t take foolish actions and say, “if this works God’s got to get the glory cause it’s so crazy.”
God is good at picking up the pieces, but we are not to test him through rationalized disobedience.
Every decision we make either digs us deeper into the curse or lifts us out of the curse. We get lifted from the curse by applying Jesus’ “hermeneutic” not Satan’s.
What Satan fails to understand is the deep mystery of the kingdom. Divine rescue may come through suffering and death not simply rescue from suffering and death.
Don’t Let Your Guard Down v. 13
“And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.”
The Present Lord Jesus is able to help those who are being tempted (Hebrews 2:18)
“Because he himself has suffered when tempted, his is able to help those who are being tempted.”
When Martin Luther was asked how he overcame the devil, he said, “Well, when he comes knocking upon the door of my heart, and asks who lives here the dear Lord Jesus goes to the door and says that Martin Luther used to live there, but he has moved out. Now I live here.”
Jesus conquered temptation because he was full of the Spirit, we can too (Galatians 5:22-23)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control; against such things there is no law.”
Jesus conquered temptation by being filled with the word, we can too (Psalm 119:11)
“I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin agains you.”
How firm a foundation,
Ye saints of the Lord
Is laid for your faith
In his excellent word.
Psalm 147:1 “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.”