Faith PrepperPreparing for the Coming Darkness
Today, as we continue our study into the life of Christ, we’ll look into the testimony of John the Baptist regarding Jesus that begins in John 1:19. In fact, it’s hard to read the question they ask him without having the CSI theme song, the Who classic from 1978, playing in my head. “Who are you?”
Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” (John 1:19)
What we have before us is the testimony of John the Baptist. And the word “testimony” (marturía) means “a witness, certification, record, that which someone witnesses or states concerning a person or thing.” It is a declaration by a witness who speaks with the authority of one who knows, like an expert witness. John is very familiar with this word and uses it over 75 times in his writings. But there is more.
Just think, John the Baptist is the first witness the Apostle John calls to testify of the Lordship of Christ. Later he writes:
This is the disciple who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. (John 21:24-25)
But there is more.
When it comes to the topic of the Christian and their struggle with temptation, preaching should not only tell us the “what” and “why” — but it should also give us the “hows” to stand up against it. Because we all have the same questions, such as what are some practical steps we can take as believers to soar over temptation and stand victorious as our Lord did in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. And when we study the account of Satan’s attempt to get Jesus to sin and how He responded to the enemy’s trickery, we should be encouraged to follow His lead like a dependent child.
Notice what Jesus did to ward off Satan’s schemes.
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 4:4)
Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” (Matthew 4:7)
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 4:10)
Notice anything that ties these three defenses together? Or do you notice anything you could place in your arsenal to combat the evil one on the day of temptation?
We are now in the third temptation of Jesus that is recorded in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. And in this temptation, Satan drops all pretense and allows his true nature to emerge. He no longer tries to get Jesus to move outside of God’s will by either meeting His own needs (turning stones into bread) or trying to force God’s hand (jumping off the pinnacle of the Temple). Instead, Satan now suggests he can offer Jesus exactly what His Father has promised Him, a kingdom, but he can get it to Him quicker and without any suffering. Look at how this temptation unfolds:
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.” (Matthew 4:8-9)
Luke’s account adds a few more details:
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” (Luke 4:5-7)
Which raises a few questions.
Today we’ll take a look at Satan’s second temptation of Jesus where he tries to chide Him into putting His Father to the test. And in this, Satan ups the ante. He now quotes Scripture in a veiled and useless attempt to entice Jesus to sin, and tries to make it sound spiritual, or Scriptural, or not all that bad. In his temptation, Satan justifies the evil behind it by quoting from Psalms 91:11-12.
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If (or, since, because) 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.” (Matthew 4:5-6).
This is classic bait and switch.
As with the first temptation, Satan is working hard to get Jesus to distrust God’s perfect plan for His life and take an easy road out. After all, if Jesus wouldn’t take it upon Himself to turn stones into bread because He was dissatisfied with the Father’s timing of meeting His needs, then let’s put the Father in a situation where He has to respond to Jesus’ demand or violate His own Word.
It sounds like a good idea. But it won’t work. Jesus is always one step, actually light years, ahead of the deceiver.
Let’s look at this exchange together.
Join us today as we look into Satan’s first shot at Jesus, tempting Him to turn stones into bread (Matt. 4:2-3). On the surface, this doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. But as you will discover, this temptation of Jesus is so effective against each of us today. In fact, I think you’ll see how easily we all fail and turn our own stones into bread.
And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If (since, because) You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matthew 4:2-3)
Intrigued? Good. Then let’s look at this incredible event together.
Today we look into what it means when it says Jesus was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Matt. 4:1). And Mark describes this event as “the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness” (Mark 1:12). For many, the idea of being led is like a parent leading a child to a place he needs to go. But “drove Him” gives us the impression of a cowboy driving cattle against their will.
In fact, there are three different Greek words used to describe the same event.
Then Jesus was led (anagō) up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Mathew 4:1)
Immediately the Spirit drove (ekballō) Him into the wilderness. (Mark 1:12)
Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led (agō) by the Spirit into the wilderness. (Luke 4:1)
So what is happening here? Let’s find out together.