Temptation, Part Three

In this blog series, we are looking at the topic of temptation, which is simply being enticed to evil. We are specifically looking at the temptation of Jesus and how He was able to overcome temptation to see if there are any principles we can apply to our own situations. In the last blog, we examined the first temptation of Jesus as recorded in Matthew 4 in which the devil tried to get Jesus to doubt his true identity. Today, we turn our attention to the second temptation.

In the second temptation, Jesus and the devil are standing on top of the highest point in Jerusalem, and the devil again says, “If you are the Son of God… throw yourself down.” The devil then quotes Scripture about how Jesus would be protected.

I want to make two observations about this temptation. First, the devil perverted God’s Word in an attempt to con Jesus into jumping. When Scripture is taken out of context and misapplied, it can be very dangerous. This is still true today. Scripture can be twisted over and over again and made to say just about anything. For example, in Scripture, it actually says, “There is no God.” However, the rest of the passage says, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” It is incredibly important for folks to know what their Bible says, especially in a culture that continues to attack God’s Word and those who profess faith in it.

The second observation I wish to make is how the devil seemed to pile on one temptation after another. In the first temptation, the devil attacked only Jesus’ identity. In this temptation, he repeats that attack, but adds another one to it. There is a common phrase for something like this: “When it rains, it pours.” For me, when I am tempted with something, I know that the devil has the next thing waiting for me. The devil is relentless in his pursuit to destroy us. Fortunately for us, God is right there pursuing us as well.

So, how did Jesus respond to the second temptation? This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Jesus responds to this temptation by quoting Scripture, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Jesus trusted God to take care of Him, He didn’t need to throw himself off a building to prove that trust. Jesus was confident in His identity as the beloved Son of God. He quoted God’s Word because He trusted what it said. There is an answer to every temptation in God’s Word. God’s Word is the answer to every temptation.

In my next blog, we will examine the third temptation and how Jesus responded. The next blog in this series is the one I have least looked forward to writing because it is something I struggle with every minute of every day.

This was first published on October 23, 2014 in The Chappell Register.

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