Webster defines temptation as something that causes a strong urge or desire to have or do something and especially something that is bad, wrong, or unwise. In our humanness we may be tempted to lie to an employer, cheat on an exam, gossip about a neighbor, loose our temper, or give in to pride, lust or greed.
In Mathew 4:1-11 Jesus spends 40 days and nights fasting in the desert. At the end of the 40 days the devil comes to him and offers him 3 different temptations. What stood out to me this time is how each temptation affects more people. The first is a private temptation that would be witnessed only by Jesus and the devil – turn these stones into bread. The second would affect the angels who would be called on to rescue Jesus if he threw himself from the highest point of the temple. And the third would affect all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus chose to bow down and worship the devil.
I think it is safe to assume that after 40 days and nights Jesus is weak, tired, hungry and lonely. In fact verse 11 tells us that after the devil left him the angels came and attended to him. At a key time in his life, right after being baptized and before starting his public ministry, Jesus relies on the word of God as the response to every temptation placed before him.
To each temptation Jesus replies “It is written” and follows that statement by quoting scripture. As someone who has given into temptation and who continues to be tempted in different areas of my life these verses bring tears to my eyes. First because God loved me enough to send his Son to dwell among us in human form. And second that his Son was willing to be tempted by the tempter himself to show me that truly, “No temptation has overtaken me except what is common to man. God is faithful; he will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear. But when I am tempted, he will also provide a way out.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 paraphrase).
Part of that “way out” is a knowledge of what God’s word says. “It is written” is the answer to everything. How could I have gotten this far and truly not understood this? Or at least not been convicted enough to make God and his word the top priority in my life day in and day out? Hebrews 4:12–13 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Precious Father, thank you that your word is still alive and active today and sharper than a double-edged sword. Thank you for being a God that is all-knowing so that everything I do is laid bare before your eyes. Thank you for a renewed passion for your word Lord. Amen.