So how awesome does this make our high priest, Jesus Christ? To know that he was tempted with every temptation common to man and yet he was without sin is simply amazing. Let us continue our examination into the temptations of our high priest.
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of (tested by) the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered (was hungry). And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power (authority) will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt (test) the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season (Luke 4:1-13).
And while there are many teachings, sermons, and the like that have been derived from these passages, we want to focus on the temptations themselves. Following his public baptism, Jesus, was lead into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). Now, the devil knew that Jesus was coming to the wilderness because he was supposed to meet him there. You could say they had an appointment to meet at an appointed time in appointed place. Jesus was led to this appointment for only one reason, to be tempted by the devil. Although we see the last three major tests that that occurred in the wilderness, it is evident that other tests had occurred (Luke 4:2).
While in the wilderness, Jesus ate nothing for forty days and forty nights (Matthew 4:2). For him to fast for this length of time, which was a remarkable feat of human endurance, demonstrates the physical and mental strength of Jesus. He endured this battle between his spirit and his flesh for forty days and forty nights. Can you imagine what his flesh was doing during this time? Can you imagine the thoughts that were going through his mind at this time? This was a serious fight between his spirit and his flesh. His real physical hunger serves as the setting for the first temptation by the tempter himself.
At the end of the forty days, Jesus became very hungry and this is where the passage picks up and allows us see a part of the battle. When the tempter came to Jesus, he said, If you be the Son of God, then tell these stones to become bread. First of all this was not a physical battle. Jesus had the physical battle with his flesh and his mind when he fasted for the forty days. The confrontation with the devil was spiritual in nature, not physical. It was a battle of the mind. Being forty days tempted of the devil (Luke 4:2), Jesus was engaged in a spiritual battle with the devil on the battleground of his mind, yet he did not yield to this temptation.
Then the devil took him into the holy city Jerusalem and set him on the high roof of the Temple and said, If you be the Son of God, jump off for the Scriptures say that God will send his angels to guard you and keep you from crashing to the pavement below. It appears that Satan had brought Jesus to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple where the higher parts of the temple stood next to a deep ravine and the elevation would have been considerable. This temptation is depicted as a real experience that actually occurred while he was in the wilderness, but Satan can only influence ones thoughts. He does not have the ability to transport someone physically to a pinnacle of the temple. Again, Jesus was engaged in a spiritual battle with the devil on the battleground of his mind, and again he did not yield to the temptation.
And then the devil took Jesus up to an exceedingly high mountain and revealed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time and said, I will give you all these splendid kingdoms and their glory, for they are mine to give to anyone I wish, if you will only get down on your knees and worship me. This temptation appears takes place on an exceeding high mountain. The mountain appears to be real in the text, though its exact location is unidentified. But despite the grandeur of this temptation, nothing in the passage itself indicates that this temptation was beyond the boundaries of the mind of Jesus while he was in the wilderness. We have discovered that Satan can only influence the mind and does not have the ability to take someone physically to an exceeding high mountain. Again, Jesus was engaged in a spiritual battle with the devil on the battleground of his mind, and once more, we see that he did not yield to the temptation.
As we continue to examine the temptations of Jesus, let us not forget that he endured a battle between his spirit and his flesh for forty days and nights and was victorious in this battle over his flesh first. Also, let us not forget that he endured a spiritual battle between his spirit and the devil for forty days and nights and was victorious in this battle as well. So, how awesome is he now? (to be continued)
Enjoy your blessings - KW