Friday, February 19, 2016

Day 7: Matt. 4:1-11; Psalm 7 - Why Was Jesus Tempted and How Did He Overcome?

Reading: Matt. 4:1-11; Psalm 7

Get the Reading Plan Here

Why Was Jesus Tempted and How Did He Overcome?

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” - Matthew 4:1-4, ESV

Immediately after Jesus was baptized by John and was consecrated and anointed by the Holy Spirit as our Messiah, He was led by the Spirit into the desert wilderness, where He fasted for forty days and was tempted by the devil. Talk about a rough start to a ministry!

There's so much we could discuss about Jesus' temptation. Three weeks ago, we were snowed in and I did an online devotional message on this topic in place of our normal Sunday worship. You can watch it here.

Right now, I just want to focus on two questions:
  • Why was Jesus tempted?
  • How did He overcome?
Jesus was tempted in our place, as our Savior, for three main reasons:

1. So He could fulfill all righteousness for us and earn a perfect human righteousness for us. 
2. So He could suffer while tempted and be a merciful and sympathetic high priest for us.
3. To be the New Adam, the Head of a new humanity, redeemed in Him.

Here's R.C. Sproul in a 4-minute video on the importance of the active obedience of Christ, helping us understand both the baptism of Jesus and His temptation in the wilderness.

Jesus had to fulfill the righteous requirement of the Law to the fullest extent, which required Him to face trials just like we do. He was tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet was without sin (Heb. 4:15). In doing so, He earned a perfect righteousness for us, He entered into our trials and suffering and He passed a more severe test than the one that Adam failed, thus "fixing" Adam's fall by reversing the curse of the Garden of Eden.

And how did He do it? As our Messiah who was fully man, Jesus overcame Satan's temptations by reliance on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit and He quoted Scripture to the devil, using the sword of the Spirit to fight the enemy. If Jesus needed the power of the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, how much more foolish would it be for us to try to face down Satan's temptations in our own wisdom? 

Prayer based on Psalm 7:

O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;    save me from all my pursuers and deliver me. - Psalm 7:1 

Father, Satan would like to make me fall and would like to see me destroyed. He pursues me constantly in temptation and distraction. Save me! Deliver me! I look to You, O Lord, to be my redeemer, my rescuer, my protection, my salvation!

Father, I thank You than when You judge me, You see me in Christ, covered by His perfect righteousness. I thank You that in Christ I can be counted as "upright in heart" and that You come to my rescue. I do willingly confess my sin and my desire to fully repent of it. I do not seek to hide it from You or play the hypocrite. 

I thank You that, in Christ, You have become my righteousness. 

I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,    and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High. - Psalm 7:17 


  1. Thanks Jason. I had not understood the reason for the temptation or the baptism of Jesus.

    1. I'm glad you're finding these posts helpful! Feel free to post any questions you may have along the way.