JESUS’ TEMPTATION

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MUSINGS – December 28, 2018

JESUS’ TEMPTATION

Matthew 4:1-11
Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus did not eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of that time, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘A person cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks.'” Then the devil took him into the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. He said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, jump! Scripture says, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock.'” Jesus said to him, “Again, Scripture says, ‘Never tempt the Lord your God.'” Once more the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms in the world and their glory. The devil said to him, “I will give you all this if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! Scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.'” Then the devil left him, and angels came to take care of him.

40 days and 40 nights appears so often in the Bible

  • God destroyed the earth with water it to rainef 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12).Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
    Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25).
    The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25).
    Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16).
    When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).

Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
Moses interceded on Israel’s behalf for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:18, 25).
The Israelite spies took 40 days to spy out Canaan (Numbers 13:25).
Goliath taunted Saul’s army for 40 days before David arrived to slay him (1 Samuel 17:16).
When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb (1 Kings 19:8).

All of these 40 days had to do with times of trial and temptation. Because it is a recurring time if testing, some have said that it is not to be taken literally but symbolic. I see no reason to believe that it is both symbolic of testing and a literal time if trial.

Whether you take it symbolicly or literally the truth is that Jesus was tested by every sin that we are. He was both fully God (who can not be tested be sin) and fully human it was necessary that he be vulnerable to sin and yet remained sinless.

Hebrews 2:18
Because Jesus experienced temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they are tempted.

Hebrews 4:15-16
We have a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness, which will help us at the right time.

Because Jesus understands sin from the human perspective, he is the perfect judge for our frailties and failures.

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All content (except quotations) © 2018 Thomas E. Williams

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