Temptation is the opportunity to sin prompted by a life circumstance. This opportunity can happen because of your own poor decisions. Or it can occur because of the powers of darkness.
Remember, temptation is not sin. Instead, it reveals a decision for you. You can honor God and obey His Word. Or you can make a selfish choice and disobey God’s Word. But why was Jesus tempted? And how can you overcome temptation? We’ll cover Matthew 4 on Sunday and learn from Jesus’ time in the wilderness. Get a head start and read the chapter. Following His victory over temptation, Jesus begins His ministry. He selects disciples: “Let’s
gather people, not fish!” The men are decisive. They leave their nets and follow Jesus. As He travels around from place to place, Jesus heals people. He casts out demons, and He teaches God’s Word. Large crowds begin to gather out of curiosity.
Geographically, Jesus settles into His earthly ministry in Capernaum. He leaves Judea after John’s arrest (more on that in chapter 11). Jesus returns home to Galilee but goes to Capernaum instead of Nazareth. In doing so, He fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy from chapter nine of the prophet’s book. Jesus goes to a place where half of the population is Gentile. He would first preach to the Jews, but then salvation is offered to all. The “Great Light” shines on everyone. But, right before the start of Jesus’ ministry, He was tempted by Satan. Note the flow of the text in Matthew 4: preparation, baptism, temptation, and ministry. Jesus’ spiritual life is not static. Neither is ours. There are ups and downs. Good times and tough times.
A significant component of Jesus’ temptation was how Satan said He could bypass sacrifice for glamour. Why die on the cross when you can be praised as the great liberator of Israel? You can have power without pain. You can have authority without accountability. Why is Jesus even here? The Holy Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness, but God does not tempt. The wilderness is a place of preparation. God will take you into the wilderness to get you ready for something.
And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. (James 1:13, NLT) God brings the trial, not the temptation. We will learn more about overcoming temptation on Sunday. Onward!