Into Temptation

Luke 4:1-13
[Jesus] was tempted by
the devil for forty days

One of the most distressing portions of Scripture is
the part of Luke’s gospel that tells us Jesus “was
led by the Spirit in the wilderness” to be tempted
by the devil (4:1). The Spirit took Jesus into the dark
wilderness? We think of God as the One who keeps
danger at bay, not One who invites us to face difficulties.
But God never promises to steer us clear of temptation
or intense difficulty. Far better, the Spirit promises to go
with us into the mouth of the dragon. God went through
the tumultuous waters of the Red Sea with Israel (Isaiah
43), and God was present with the young Hebrew men
in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). God was present with
Jesus, and God will be with us.

In the wilderness, Satan’s temptation was a multistep
ploy to get Jesus to go on His own, separating Himself
from the very One who was with Him there. Satan
tempted Jesus to:
• turn stone to bread (providing for Himself rather
than trusting God, v.3).
• worship Satan and gain all Satan’s domain
(grabbing His own kingdom rather than remaining
under God’s rule, v.5).
• hurl Himself off the temple’s pinnacle (taking life
into His own hands rather than simply trusting God’s
goodness, v.9).

With each temptation, however, Jesus answered Satan
with Scripture—rebuking Satan’s words with God’s words. Jesus knew the truth,
and He knew God was with Him even in that vile place.

I have a friend who’s angry at God for not averting suffering and pain at a
particular moment in his life. I believe Jesus was with my friend, however, even
in his pain. If he would trust God’s kind presence, he would discover something
far better than release from his painful circumstances. —Winn Collier

• Psalm 23:3
• 1 Corinthians 10:13
• James 5:11

Read each temptation
in Luke 4. What would
be your equivalent
temptation of turning
stone to bread,
worshiping the devil, and
testing God by leaping
off the temple? How
would you handle each