I struggled with Luke 4. I find that my culture and my social life and my cravings and my stress-relief revolve around food. And so at first all I could see was Jesus resisting temptation while fasting for 40 days and never giving in. Wow.
This is a famous passage, but I forget that it all begins with the Holy Spirit coming on Jesus at His baptism. It is an awesome moment, and leads right into a season of temptation. I began to get extra nervous at this point.
Jesus is first tempted to prove that He’s God (pride power struggle) and fill His stomach at the same time (physical struggle). He responds with a verse from Deuteronomy.
Next He was tempted to gain power over all the world, a struggle that has corrupted every human effort for good. It even surfaces in my own life as I seek to schedule, plan, and perfect my daily routine. The price for gaining the world was worship of the Devil. Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 6 – the Lord alone is to be worshiped.
The final temptation concerned a desire to be recognized, for Jesus to prove at the Temple that He was God. He would receive adoration from everyone who could no longer ignore Him. But Jesus had not merely read and memorized Scripture, He internalized it as truth for His life. Deuteronomy 6 again: Do not test the Lord.
The Devil left Him then, until an opportune time. God had won – His power can overcome all temptations! No matter how hard they are.
But Jesus’ life didn’t get easier.
The third temptation was for recognition, and as soon as Jesus stepped into the public spotlight, He began to get attention! He went to the synagogues, preached the coming kingdom of God. And He was rejected in His hometown. He was surrounded by people desperate to be healed. And He couldn’t get away from them. It was a constant demand.
No wonder Jesus sought desolate wilderness places for quiet times with God. Sometimes the struggle with the Devil is less challenging than the constant struggle with people.
What about my temptations – how can I seek God’s strength to deal with them rather than trying (and failing) on my own? What about you?
What has God taught you about struggle? Add a comment, start a discussion.