The Three Temptations of Jesus in Luke 4:3-13

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Ed Walsh, Jun 3, 2018.

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  1. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior


    I hoping for some quick help on the three final temptations in the order Luke presents them.

    I have been racking my brain as to why each of the three temptations was so difficult for Jesus. Example: I wouldn't be tempted to jump off the Temple. I am leading a discussion on this topic tomorrow evening, and I am not satisfied with my answers. I have been working on this off and on for weeks. I have five pages of typed notes and twice that many handwritten. And I'm still not satisfied with my answers. The last two meetings I stressed the humanity as well as the Impeccability of Christ.

    Any quick help you can offer will be appreciated. Nothing elaborate. Just a sentence or two each.

    Here's my outline (Not my conclusions)
    1. Stone to Bread
    Prove You are the Son of God​

    2. The Kingdoms of the World
    Take the Crown Without the Cross​

    3. From the Top of the Temple
    Don't You Trust the Word of God?​
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    The temptations are subtle. The subtlety is part of what made them such difficult temptations to resist. So you should not be surprised to be asking why they are difficult. Thomas Manton's sermons on the account in Matthew is some of my favorite teaching on any passage of Scripture. Highly recommended if you have the time. But briefly, from some of my notes...

    All the temptations:
    Following the devil's suggestions instead of being led by the Spirit.
    Doubting God's declaration that "you are my Son..."
    Showing off (and to the devil, of all people!)

    Stones into bread:
    -Discontent, and not trusting God to care for him and give him all he needed. Jesus had been fasting with God. Is being with God not enough? Is something missing that God has not provided? Like when we say: “If God was really good to me he’d give me ____. Or surely, he would want me to go get it for myself.”

    -Improper use of his power for self-serving purposes. Jesus probably hasn’t done any miraculous signs yet. What would it say if the first one is for his own benefit and at the suggestion of the devil? This would be an attitude of “My own needs are my first interest, and I am trusting myself to protect my interests.”

    -Tempted to use his sonship in a way that doesn’t fit God’s mission for him.
    The devil wants him to change what it means to be the Son of God—in a way that’s to Jesus' personal advantage. Use that power to relieve some serious discomfort. If you are the Son of God there’s no reason for you to be in this miserable state, is there? (NOTE: In garden at his arrest: “Don’t you think I cannot appeal to the Father for legions of angels, but how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled?” So Jesus has come to give himself, he’s come to suffer and be humbled. And if he does need help, his method is to trust the Father and turn to him. But the devil wants him to start out taking an entirely different approach from that. Notice the devil does not suggest “pray to the Father that he would give you bread,” but rather suggests Jesus needs to take matters into his own hands to provide what he needs for himself.

    Kingdoms of the world

    The fact that this would be wrong is obvious, but it is still an extremely strong temptation because of...

    -Lust of the eyes. We can know it’s wrong, say ahead of time that we would never do such a thing, but when we see it right in front of us we still desire it and sin. Consider the first sin in the garden, and the role of the lust of the eyes. In this case, Jesus is shown everything!

    -Immediacy. “You can have this, that you want, right now.”

    -It's a false view of worldly things. The devil offers only the “glories” of every kingdom. Looks so good, if you don't consider the fallen side of the world and its shame and evil as well. Should we really desire the world?

    -It’s a view of worldly treasures without the comparison of heavenly treasures. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…” “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world…” Jesus should know God is better than anything the devil might promise or anything you can see in this world.

    -For Jesus’s specific situation, it is again a way to achieve glory without the servanthood and suffering of the cross. (Notice how sharply Jesus scolded Peter when he made a similar suggestion later – in Mat. 16:23.)

    Jump off the temple

    -A flashy miracle is not the right way for Jesus to start his ministry. He's supposed to be a teacher of truth (confirmed by miracles), not a celebrity. We get tempted this way when we only want to live for God as long as it makes us look and feel like a winner.

    -Approaching the Bible and God’s Word as a doubter, wanting something more than God’s Word before you’ll believe. Wanting a special sign when we already have the witness of the Bible. We tend to want God’s promises in our form, with our detailed situation made explicit. Like when people ask for a miracle before they’ll believe—as if we don’t have miracles in the Bible. Do you believe God’s Word or not? What God has already said is sufficient.

    -Demanding and arrogant attitude toward God. What God has already said is not good enough; he must humor me by doing this and that for me.

    -Impatient attitude. Can’t wait to see God’s word proven true in his time.

    -Presumption. If Jesus jumps, he will be not fully believing the Bible, and still presuming in spite of that disbelief that God will save him. An act that will kill yourself is a sin. The fact you believe God will intervene doesn’t change this. It is dangerous presumption to think, “I can go ahead and sin. God will still be good to me.” That attitude of presumption is not consistent with true faith.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018
  3. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

  4. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior


    I gave you a "like" on both your posts. This is the info I was hoping for.

    PS - I have Manton vol. I opened before me now.

    Thanks again.
  5. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    You might pray for the little group I lead tonight on the three temptations of Christ harmonized with his impeccability. In many ways, Jesus is still a mystery to me. How could it be otherwise?

  6. sc_q_jayce

    sc_q_jayce Puritan Board Freshman

    How did it go?
  7. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    The bread represents Jesus placing a value on physical food over spiritual food
    The Kingdoms is the offer to bypass the Cross itself
    The top of the temple would be forcing the hand of God the Father, to place Him to the test to save Jesus from physical death
  8. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    I was a little off my game, but I had some encouraging feedback. During the prayer time at the end, most of the people in the group prayed. More than usually I think.

    Thanks for asking
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