TEMPTATION

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him…Jesus answered… “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT BY EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS FROM THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ ” … “It is written again, ‘YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.’ ” … “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’ ” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.  (Mat 4:1-11 NKJV)

  

“Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

 

When considering the story of Jesus’ temptation in the Wilderness, I have often wondered how these could even be a temptation to Jesus. I mean, He is God! These things shouldn’t even begin to tempt Him, except for the fact that He was also man. Jesus was God in human form.

 

It is this very human aspect that made temptation even possible for Jesus. And it is this very human aspect that makes us susceptible to the temptation to rebel against God and act in selfish and arrogant ways. It is this human aspect that tempts us to think of the present conditions and advantages of the moment. It is this human aspect that focuses our attention on ourselves, blinding us to those around us and constrains us to the present.

 

It is in the presence of temptation that I find great strength in the purpose Jesus realized at 12 years old, “…I must be about my Father’s business.”

 

Jesus is physically tired and spiritually and emotionally spent from 40 days of fasting alone in the desert. It is in this condition that He meets with a temptation to gratify His physical needs and use the Father’s power for selfish reasons.

 

Jesus, lonely and unknown with little to commend Him to anyone, meets with the temptation to test God’s promise of protection by performing a daredevil stunt for fame and admiration. It had the appeal of instant celebrity and offered the fuzzy promise of a relevant platform from which to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom.

 

Jesus, facing an uphill battle to win the hearts and minds of people and looking forward to a painful and lonely death to redeem this world, meets the temptation of an easy takeover purchased by kissing the feet of the enemy. Too often I realize this temptation as I am in mid bow. It is a terrible temptation because it entices us to negotiate with the enemy. It is the temptation to believe redemption can be purchased on the terms of the enemy.

 

How could any of these have been a temptation to the Creator of the Universe? Philippians 2:7 states, “He made Himself of no reputation…” and came “in the likeness of men.” The Creator of the universe took our weakness upon Himself making Him susceptible to the temptation to selfishness, pride and self-will. Hebrews 4:15 says that, “He was tempted in all points” like us and yet He didn’t sin.

 

So how is it that He could answer and resist the temptations?

 

Somehow Jesus was able to keep the perspective that He was about the “Father’s business,” not His own.  In every response, Jesus pointed to the Word and purpose of God.

The Father’s business is about ministering life through the Word. This was the reminder that sustained Jesus through the temptation to use God’s power to meet His immediate physical hunger. It was the perspective that enabled Him to hold out for the Father’s provision and timing rather than gratifying His own felt needs.

 

The Father’s business is to defend His servants about His business, not sustaining their self-aggrandizing whims and pursuits. Again, the Written Word of the Father sustained through a temptation to force the hand of the Father to protect His son through a foolhardy attempt at celebrity.

 

Quite often I am tempted to take the Word of God out of context because of my own selfishness? I take great comfort from Jesus’ response. I am about My Father’s business, “It’s written…you shall not tempt the Lord your God.” O to be able to have the same response when I am tempted to test God with selfish intent.

 

The Father’s Business was to pay in full the debt of sin owed by the world.  The Father’s business was to destroy the power of sin by fulfilling His own requirements and receiving the wages of sin. Jesus met the temptation of painless redemption, by remembering His Father’s business.

It is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’

 

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

It is here that we see the Father’s business was to sustain and minister to His Son. His business is the same with you and me as we are about the Father’s business. May God sustain and minister grace to your hearts today as you go about your “Father’s business.”

 

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