“Preaching on Christ - The Sovereign Servant”
TOPIC:“Christ - His Violent Temptation”
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted of the devil”
Surely in our reading of the New Testament we have come across the temptation experience of Jesus. G. Campbell Morgan describes the temptation of Christ in these words: “Hell's attempt to thwart Heaven's purpose.” Here we find Jesus in the greatest battle of His life. He is in a fierce and furious struggle with Satan the destroyed. Satan tried to get Him at His BIRTH, now he tries to get Him at His BAPTISM. He wanted to put out the Light so the world would remain in darkness.
The temptation incident is recorded by all of the synoptic Gospel writers. Mark gives us a brief account, while Matthew and Luke record all the details of the conflict. Since the writers, Matthew and Luke, were not present when the intense struggle happened, they must have received their information directly from Jesus Himself in His conversion with them.
Let us now take a closer look at some of the details of this wilderness temptation.
Consider, first of all, the ASPECTS of the temptation of Jesus. From verse 1 we discover five different phases of this event.
The SUBJECT of it. Note the words: “Then was Jesus…” It was Jesus in His humanity and not Christ in His divinity who fought Satan. Jesus met temptation as a man and He mastered temptation as a man. When Jesus said to the devil in verse 4 “Man shall not live by bread alone” He placed Himself in the area of humanity which could be tempted by Satan. This truth is colorfully expressed in the words of the writer of Hebrews who writes of Christ: “In all points tempted like we are (as a man), yet without sin” (4:15).
The SCENE of it: “into the wilderness. “The word “wilderness” refers to the uninhabited mountainous region between Jericho and Jerusalem. It was a barren and desolate place. St. Mark describes Jesus as being in a place “with the wild beasts” (1:3).
The SOURCE of it: “to be tempted of the devil.” . . .