Matthew 6: Temptation of Jesus


Introduction

So far this year, we’ve been looking at the first part of the Bible, called the Old Testament.
Today, we are starting on the second part of the Bible, called the New Testament.
It starts with four books about Jesus Christ: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.
 
Last week, two Korean girls were baptised in the church.
When they came up from the water, people prayed for them – it shows the start of their Christian life
 
At the start of Jesus’ public life, when he first appeared as an adult, Jesus was baptised like that,
but in a river, the Jordan. (Matthew 3:13-17, Luke 3:21-22)
And when he came up from the water,
God’s Holy Spirit came down on Jesus like a bird
And God the Father spoke from heaven:
“This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am pleased.” (Matthew 3:17).[1]
 
There is a lot of meaning to Jesus baptism, a lot of things from the Old Testament.
But there is no time to talk about them today.
 
Jesus’ baptism in the river was exciting and wonderful.
 
But then, Jesus has the opposite experience.
God’s spirit leads him out into the desert, the wilderness,
a dry place of sand and rocks where nobody lives, only wild animals.
 
For 40 days, Jesus has nothing to eat – How would you feel?
he is tired and hungry.
 
Jesus is alone in the desert,
God doesn’t seem to be with him any more.
But something is there – something evil – called the devil, or Satan.
The devil is the enemy of God, and everything that is good.
He wants to destroy Jesus
the devil tempts Jesus.
 
Temptation is when you really want to do something, it looks so nice, but you know, it is bad.
Maybe you like chocolate or lollies,
look at this lolly here:
I really want it, but it’s bad for me.
It looks so yummy, but as you can see, I need to watch my weight.
What will I do – I’ll eat it yes! No, I will be good
 
 
After he was baptised, that wonderful spiritual time, Jesus was in a dark spiritual battle.
His stomach was hurting, he probably had a headache in the desert sun, he was weak,
when Jesus was weakest, the devil attacked
 
* Matthew 4:1-11 *
 
 

Jesus is the new Adam.

Between Jesus’ baptism and the temptation, the book of Luke gives Jesus’ family tree:
Jesus is the son of Joseph (and Mary), the son of, the son of,
back to King David – Jesus is the true King.
Then, the son of the son of back to Abraham.
then, the son of the son of …, the son of Adam, the son of God.
 
in the beginning, God made the world
and he made Adam and Eve, the first people, God’s first human children.
They were in the beautiful Garden of Eden,
God told them they could eat anything they want, except from one tree.
They must not eat that fruit
but Adam and Eve were tempted by the snake.
“Look at that tree. Did God say …? No, no no. The fruit looks so nice. Come on, try it – why not?”
Adam and Eve listened to the snake
They didn’t trust God.
They didn’t obey God – this is called sin
They ate the fruit.
And so their relationship with God was damaged.
They became scared, afraid of God, and hid from him
suffering and death came into the world
 
We are all like our great great great great great grandparents Adam and Eve.
We all turn away from God, disobey God, and so we all die
 
one of the great New Testament writers is a man Paul,
Paul calls Jesus the second Adam, the new Adam.
the snake tempted Adam in the garden.
The devil tempted Jesus in the desert,
But there was a big difference: Jesus did not listen to the devil
Adam didn’t trust God and disobeyed
Jesus trusted and obeyed his father, God.
 
So Paul says:
The sin of Adam brought death to everyone.
But the obedience of Jesus Christ brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
(Romans 5:18-19)
 
Jesus was the new Adam, the true son of God
 
 

Jesus is the true Israel.

God has another “son” in the Old Testament – The people of Israel
remember how the people of Israel were slaves, prisoners, in Egypt for 400 years.
God brought Moses to rescue them.
the waters of the Red Sea opened up to make way for them to go through.
 
After that, the people of Israel spent 40 years in the desert wilderness.
they didn’t trust God.
They tested God
They grumbled and complained.
But God still looked after them.
He gave them bread from heaven (called manna)
 
After 40 years, Moses led them to the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptised.
They crossed the Jordan, into the good land that God had promised them,
 
But just before they went across, Moses gave a long speech
“Listen O Israel! The Lord our God is one.
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength….”
 
Worship the Lord your God and serve only him… you must not worship any other gods …
you must not test the Lord your God, like when you complained in the desert.” (Deuteronomy 6)
 
“Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these 40 years, …
letting you go hungry, and then feeding you with bread from heaven, …
he did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone;
but we live by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).
 
Have you already heard some of that today?
 
Israel came through the waters of the Red Sea, then had 40 years in the wilderness.
Jesus was baptised in the waters of the Jordan, and then spent 40 days in the desert.
 
The devil tempted Jesus to disobey these words of Moses.
Make food more important than God – turn the stones into bread.
test God – jump off the roof of the temple.
worship the devil instead of the true God.
 
But every temptation that the devil gives, Jesus answers with words from Moses’ speech in Deuteronomy.
People do not live by bread alone … but by God’s words.
You must not test the Lord your God.
Worship the LORD your God and serve only him.
 
 
The Old Testament calls Israel God’s son
but Jesus was the opposite of Israel: he trusted and obeyed God, where they didn’t.
He didn’t test God, where they did.
 
Jesus was the true Israel, God’s true son
 
 

Looking forward through Jesus’ life.

The devil tempts Jesus to choose the easy way.
A way to be rich and famous
A way without pain or suffering
“have the gain, without the pain” – why not?
 
Jesus says no
and the devil goes away for now.
But he doesn’t give up
the same temptations came back all Jesus’ life[2]
 
 
One day, Jesus talked to his followers, his best friends.
He said, "the Jewish leaders are going to catch me, beat me up, and kill me on a cross."
his friend Peter said: “no way Lord, this will never happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22).
And Jesus said to Peter: “get away from me, Satan! You are dangerous for me.
You are seeing things in a human way, not God’s” (Matthew 16: 23)
 
Jesus saw this was the same temptation that the devil made: take the easy way, not God’s way
 
To save us from our sin and death and bring us back to God,
Jesus had to be truly human like us, but a human without sin, who perfectly trusted and obeyed God.
The devil tries to stop this.
He tempts Jesus to sin, and not trust God.
He tempts Jesus to take the easy way, escape pain and suffering and death, so he’s not really human like us
 
 
The night before he died, Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane,
The Jewish leaders were coming to catch him
again, he was tempted to take the easy way:
Jesus said he could call armies of angels to fight for him
– like the devil said angels would catch him if he jumped off the temple
but Jesus said to God: “not what I want, but what you want.” (Matthew 26:39).
 
 
In the desert, the devil said “if you are the son of God.” … prove it to me…
As Jesus hung on the cross, he heard these same words again:
“If you are the son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40).
If you are the son of God – don’t just hang there like a failure
Don’t die!
Come on – show your power.
Destroy your enemies.
 
But Jesus didn’t.
He died.
 
Remember the devil said he would give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and all their glory,
if Jesus worshiped him.
Jesus said no, go away!
Three days after Jesus died, God made him alive again.
And Jesus said, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18).
In his own time, in his own way, God gave Jesus, what the devil said he would
 
 

Temptation, Jesus and us

That’s the story of Jesus and his temptations.
But what about us?
 
Most of us have enough food to eat.
But often we are still hungry.
we can be hungry for love.
And we can be hungry for meaning and purpose in our lives.
What are you hungry for?
 
When we are hungry, temptation can come.
the devil can attack.
He attacks us with lies, saying things that are not true
 
 
He says that sex will fill our hunger for love.
I’m not married, and sometimes it’s lonely, and hard to keep my mind clean
Maybe you are lonely too, sitting at your computer.
It’s so easy to go to some websites and look at some pictures of girls – why not?
So easy to dream about that wonderful woman, or man!
But it’s a lie: that’s not real love – it won’t make you happy.
 
 
Or, the devil says that money will fill our hunger for meaning.
Being rich and famous and successful is the most important thing, the purpose of life,
but that’s a lie too: money can’t make us happy
 
 
for some of us, the devil tells the lie: no one loves you, your life has no meaning.
I sometimes get depressed, and feel like that.
it can be worst when I’m about to speak at church.
I sometimes feel I’m useless, this message I’ve written is rubbish
– I hardly even believe it or know if God is there at all!
 
 
The devil walks around like a dangerous roaring lion, looking for how he can attack us (1 Peter 5:8).
He lies to us
he tempts us.
 
 
So how can we resist?
How can we say no to temptation, and yes to God’s way?
How can we say no to the devil’s lies?
There’s not much time left, but a few ideas
 
First, look at Jesus in this story.
Remember Jesus has all the power and authority.
The devil doesn’t have any real power
all Satan can do is lie, try to make us believe what isn’t true
 
but Jesus had filled his mind with God’s words, God’s truth from the Bible.
Every time the devil tempts him with lying words,
Jesus replied with God’s true words.[3]
we can do the same.
We need to spend time alone with God like Jesus did.
Listen to God, read the Bible, get God’s truth into our mind and heart
 
and the good news is,
Jesus was like us in every way and understands how hard it can be.
 
“Because he himself has gone through suffering and testing,
he is able to help us when we are being tested and tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)
 
Jesus “understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings that we do, yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
 
 
and the Bible promises:
“God will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.
When you are tempted, he will show you a way out”
(1 Corinthians 10:13)
 
 
Finally, three big lies:
 
1: it’s sinful to be tempted.
No!
When you are tempted, it doesn’t mean you are bad – Jesus was tempted!
We just saw the verses.
 
 
2: if I fail, if the temptation gets me,
I’m just useless; I will give up, because God won’t love me any more.
No!
God forgives
No matter what we’ve done, God still loves us, he can give us a new beginning.
 
 
3: I can’t tell anyone I’m tempted – I have to fight this alone.
No!
Temptation and testing is worst when we are alone.
But God doesn’t want us to be alone
he brings us together, to be honest with each other and help each other
 
So after the song,
if you want to talk or pray with one of the pastors, you can come up here by the piano
or talk and pray for each other in your groups
 
 

Questions

 
How did the devil tempt Jesus?
How did Jesus respond?
 
What are you hungry for?
How are you tempted to fill this hunger?
What lies do you need to replace with God’s truth?


[1] Christians believe there is one God, in three persons. We call this the Trinity. Here we see all three persons of the Trinity: God the Father in heaven, God the Son, Jesus on earth, and flying down like a dove, God the Holy Spirit. So when people are baptised here in church, the pastor says, "I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
[2] Sometimes, the people wanted Jesus to be their king, to lead the army of Israel.
To be a great mighty King and chase away their enemies, the Romans.
It was the same temptation that Satan brought.
When people want this from him, Jesus said no, and walked away.
[3] the sword of the spirit, the Word of God – Ephesians 6:17.

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