Reading: Matt 4:1, Genesis 3
After Jesus was baptized, the Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted. Why was it necessary for Him to be tempted by the devil? I'll answer that toward the end of this post. First, lets go back to the very first man and woman to look at the temptation of Adam and Eve. This will give us a better understanding of how temptation can persuade us and lead us away from what we know to be right and true. You can also see the effect their sin had on their own sons Cain and Abel. Our own sin does affect our children as well.
Interesting isn't it, that when we do something wrong, we feel shame and want to hide it from God and other people. This is most obvious in little children. Adults get more clever in hiding their sin. Jesus speaks of people loving the darkness more than the light because their deeds are evil and refuse to go near the light for fear their sins will be exposed. God loves us and wants us to have the blessing of living as children of the light, having a life free from shame and the destruction of sin.
Adam and Eve remind me of little kids, and us as adults as well. All too often we think that if we blame others we will feel good about ourselves and save face. But the danger in not seeing the role that our own sin played; is we then live with something far more painful... unforgiveness, broken relationships, bitterness and anger. This is far worse suffering than to simply recognize our weakness as a human being and take responsibility for our own sin. We are all capable of making mistakes, all of us have sinned and we fall so short of the glory of God. When we sin we grieve the Holy Spirit, (Eph.4:30-32) who is our only hope in truly being healed and being transformed to a new life. We distance ourselves from God and others. We live in incredible pain and broken relationships. Yes it is painful to admit wrong doing; but not as bad as the alternative. John says in his epistle:
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9
The story of Cain and Abel is also helpful and heartbreaking. When Adam and Eve fell into temptation and disobeyed God, the deception and power of sin was released. Read this in Genesis 4:1-16 and you will see the power of sin and the effect of jealousy and anger. Thank God, through Christ, we now have access to the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome sin.
the Lord asked Cain. '
Why do you look so dejected?
You will be accepted
if you do what is right.
But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out!
Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.
But you must be its master.'"
Gen 4:6, 7 NLT.
Yes, as we live life every day sin is crouching at the door, like a hungry lion trying to control us. We must through the power of the Spirit, resist the devil and he will flee. After Satan tempted Jesus three times He left. Why did God put that tree in the garden? Does He tempt us? I don't know about the tree, but He does not tempt us:
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.
comes from our own desires,
which entice us and drag us away.
give birth to sinful actions.
And when sin is allowed to grow,
it gives birth to death."
James 1:13-15 NLT
This verse above is key. God does not tempt us. Temptation comes from our own desires. We are enticed and dragged away into sinful actions. While the devil does tempt, he only uses our own desires. We can't say, the devil made me do it. It takes yielding to our desire instead of yielding to God for us to fall into sin and death, separation from God. Be encouraged. God gave us Jesus to provide the forgiveness of our sins.
Why was it necessary for Jesus to be tempted by the devil? In every way He had to be made like us, His brothers and sisters, even in suffering temptation. See Hebrew 2:17, 18 and 4:14-16, or The Genealogy of Jesus.
Though this was long today, it will help us understand the significance of Jesus' temptation and how He has provided for us to live an abundant life through His sacrifice and the gift of His Holy Spirit.