Dealing With Life’s Temptations

Luke 4:1-13

Today we see Jesus nearing the end of his forty days in the wilderness immediately after his baptism by John in the Jordan. He is hungry and probably at the most vulnerable point of his wilderness wandering when the Devil meets up with him and gives him three temptations. And they have to do with issues in life with which we all have to deal – centering around comfort, possessions and power.

The tempter has one thing in mind with Jesus. He wants to challenge his claim to be the Son of God, or at least wants him to misuse his “Son Of God” identity for his own purpose.

The first temptation deals with an everyday experience we can all relate to which is being hungry. Now remember, Jesus had fasted for forty days so his hunger was immense and the tempter asked Jesus to ‘turn stones into bread’ IF he indeed was the Son Of God. Jesus’ response was: “It is written, one shall not live by bread alone”

We can all relate to this in this immediate gratification society we live in. We desire anything and everything that will make us comfortable and we want it now. And because of it, we can turn the course of our life off track by making inappropriate decisions, which we later regret.

The second temptation finds Jesus being promised all the kingdoms and possessions of the world IF Jesus will but worship him. Again Jesus responds firmly with scripture: “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.” How tempting it is for us to have as our main goal in life to amass many possessions often at the expense of losing ourselves. The old saw “You may gain the whole world but lose your soul (being)” is appropriate here. Having more in this hedonistic and pleasure seeking culture is often seen as being a virtue. Having less is seldom honored. Poor people are shunned and have very little status in society. Oh we may judge both the poor and the rich unmercifully at times, however if given the opportunity, we often like to befriend those with many possessions.

The third temptation has to do with power. The tempter takes him to the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem and asks him to throw himself down from the Temple, IF he is The Son of God. Reminding him that he that if he is all-powerful, he could do this and God’s angels would rescue him. And Jesus reminds the Devil, that we are not to Test God foolishly to prove a point.

We are powerless and have little control about life and its circumstances, however we do have the power to control our own behavior as it relates to our own lives and the lives of other.

So what about it? No doubt all of us have yielded to these temptations in life—Comfort, Possessions and Power. Thanks be to God that Jesus journeyed to Jerusalem and completed his work as ‘Son Of God’ and saved us from death and sin and has granted us life and salvation.