All of us must deal with temptation. Edwin Luther, a Baptist preacher from the United States, once said, “Temptation is not a sin; it is a call to battle.” Jesus was tempted yet he remained sinless.
Let’s look at how he handled temptation:
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone.' " The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.' " The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' " Jesus answered, "It says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.”- Luke 4:1-13
After 40 days of fasting, Jesus was no doubt hungry. Although he was fully God in the flesh - even the devil admitted in verse three that Jesus was the Son of God - He was also fully man and was susceptible to being tempted. Jesus knew His mission and He knew He had to fight the devil and temptation to succeed in it.
The enemy used an opportune time to tempt Jesus. He was all alone, hungry, and vulnerable to the harsh conditions in the desert. He tempted Jesus in the same three areas that he tempts all of us.
He was tempted by the lust of the flesh. Knowing Jesus was hungry, he suggested that he turn some rocks into bread, ending his fast prematurely. Jesus responded that God’s Word would sustain Him.
He tempted Him through the lust of the eyes. He offered Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world – a very tempting proposition. But, by consenting to this temptation, Jesus would have to abandon his heavenly throne for some human kingdom. Jesus responded, again, with Scripture.
The enemy tempted Christ with the pride of life. Satan even quoted Psalms 91, reminding Jesus that He would not be hurt before His time. Jesus once again responds with Scripture. Thank God that Jesus resisted. Had He not, the payment made for us at the cross would never have been available to us.
You may think that Jesus was victorious because He was the Son of God. Do not forget that He was fully man as well and fully susceptible to all temptation. Otherwise, the temptations He faced would have been meaningless and, therefore, He would not be able to understand our predicaments.
So how can we be victorious when faced with temptation? By following His example.
Paul reminds us of an important truth: “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
We must use and depend upon God’s Word, the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the strength of His presence in order to obtain the victory over temptation. This is the only path to victory!