1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[c] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[d]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[e]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[f]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[g]”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
So, I haven’t been posting for a little while. There are a few reasons for that, but the man one was that I didn’t have anything to say. I started this when I started a 21-day reading plan, when I finished that I went on to one that was supposed to be for sixty days I think. I quit that one to start the 1-year plan. So I’ve been reading through a lot of the same texts I’d already talked about and so didn’t have much to say. I like how I think people have noticed that I wasn’t posting for awhile. Isn’t it cute?
So, here we have Satan’s temptation of Jesus. The very first thing that I want you to notice is that the Spirit lead Jesus here. Bear in mind that not only does God lead us into places where we’ll be tempted, he also leads us into places that hurt. If you don’t believe me, go look at the cross for a while. Or if you’ve heard that one a few too many times, go read about how most of the prophets died. Or about Paul’s life.
God is not going to keep you from being hurt. No good parent would. We do not gain understanding from being told something. We gain understanding through pain. Trust me, and more importantly trust God. If you let Him, He can do incredible things in you through your pain.
Alright, that’s just my opener. Here’s the real point. This is what the title of this post is about. Let’s compare Jesus and Adam. Spoiler alert: it will kind of make Adam look bad.
Alright, first of all, let’s look at where they were when they were tempted. Adam was in the Garden of Eden, with his beautiful wife, where he could fill his belly with whatever he wanted, and where he could talk to and literally go for a walk with God. He was fulfilled in every way possible.
Jesus was (as we are told in one of the possibly most unnecessary endings to any sentence ever) very hungry. He hadn’t eaten in forty days. He was alone. He was not in a garden. He was in one of the most desolate wastelands on the planet.
Adam, if he followed God, would go on to only greater joy, wisdom, love, and to everlasting life. Jesus, if he followed God would go on to pain, separation, desolation, and the consequences of dying as the worst sinner who ever lived.
Now, at this point, you’re probably thinking something like, “Come on, Rick. He’s Jesus. He IS God. How hard could it be for Him to avoid temptation?” Well, first you have to see that the temptation to eat wasn’t the real issue. That was just on the surface. The real temptation here is to use His power as God without his Father’s permission. Jesus had to live a life of perfect submission to God, as a man, and die the death of a man, so that we could have the relationship that He has with God. If He became God, that’s lost.
Let’s move on to the second temptation for a second. As I said earlier, God will lead us into places that hurt. Jesus knew that He was heading for the cross. One way to look at this is to say, “If God would allow his own son to go through that, what guarantee do I have that he’s not going to put me through something painful?”
None. You have no such guarantee. In fact, you have the exact opposite. I guarantee you that if you attempt to follow God, it will hurt.
But it will be for a purpose. Jesus says here not to put God to the test. What test?
The passage immediately before this one is from Jesus’ Baptism, where the voice of God was heard saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” What does Satan begin this first two temptations with? “If you are the Son of God…”
Implicitly, the real question is, if you are the Son of God, why do you have to go through this?
What is the third temptation? All the kingdoms of the world without the pain of the Cross. All the profit, none of the cost. The problem is that the cost was the point. Jesus didn’t want the splendor of the kingdoms of the world. He is the one through whom everything that has been created was made. And it was all nothing but words.
But you, you had to be bought. You deserve God’s punishment. I don’t say that to be judgmental, or superior. I’m in that boat, right beside you. God’s justice had to be met. God is holy. Breaking his law must have consequence. So, to buy you, Jesus took that consequence Himself.
Satan offered Adam the opportunity to be God, for the seemingly low price of disobeying God. It cost Adam everything and in the end he got nothing in return.
Satan offered Jesus everything at no cost. Instead, Jesus chose you, at ultimate cost.
Adam loved himself. Jesus loves you.