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Facing Temptation – a closer look at Jesus’ wilderness temptations

Last Updated: April 28, 2015

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

Jesus vs. Satan. It is a story of an epic battle between ancient enemies. In Matthew 4 and Luke 4 we see their showdown in the Judean wilderness. I hope this series encourages our hearts to be fascinated with Christ and His loving obedience to God in the face of temptation. I also hope it inspires us to cling to and learn from Christ amidst our toughest tempting moments.

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1. The Sympathizing Savior

In our temptations we are meant to experience the sympathy of the perfect God-Man, Jesus Christ, the one who never sinned yet intimately knows the pervasiveness and power of temptation.

2. The Second Adam

The temptation story is not merely a how-to manual on battling the devil. It is a pivotal story in the great drama of God restoring what humanity lost in the Garden of Eden. Our hearts are meant to be swept up in that drama, giving rise to fresh faith.

3. Strength in Hunger

The Redeemer knows the importance of the discipline of fasting; so should the redeemed. If fasting was instrumental in Christ’s obedience, so it will be in ours. In fasting we learn to make the Word of God our daily bread.

4. Living By Every Word

First, Christ is tempted to turn stones into bread. His obedience here displays His immense trust in His Father as the One who purposes our times of hunger and plenty. Christ conquers temptation by delighting in His Father’s perfect instructions.

5. Trusting vs. Testing

Second, Christ is tempted to test God by leaping from the heights of the temple. His obedience here displays His incredible trust in His Father’s plans for His ministry. Christ conquers temptation by delighting in His Father’s perfect timing and His perfect plans for His messianic mission.

6. Idols of the Heart

Last, Christ is tempted to worship Satan for the ultimate prize of becoming the highest king of all the kingdoms of the world. His obedience here shows Christ’s incredible God-centeredness. He conquers temptation by remembering the glory and majesty of His Father, the One who would eventually share His throne with Him.

7. The Word Made Flesh

Combating each temptation, Christ quotes from the Word of God. He brandishes the sword of God’s Scriptures. He speaks God’s words aloud, which brings to mind God’s granduer as displayed in the history of His people.

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Special thanks to my friend and co-worker Trevor Corbin for the excellent artwork he did for this series.