Peter Barnes: THE TEMPTATIONS OF THE SON OF GOD, Matthew 4:1-11 (22 March 2020)
John Owen: ‘How shall I stand, O Lord, if such mighty pillars have been cast to the ground? If such cedars were blown down, how shall I stand before temptation? O keep me that I do not enter into temptation?’ Adam failed, Israel failed, the great ones of Israel failed, the Church fails, we fail, each of us. Christ succeeds. The same story but not the same order is in Luke 4:1-13.
1. The victory of Christ.
– Adam was in paradise where all was harmonious, and he sinned; Christ was in the wilderness with wild animals (Mark 1:13), and He resisted. Adam was not hungry and he ate; Christ was famished, and He did not eat. Adam was overcome, and all who are in Adam fell with him; Christ was victorious, and so will be all in Christ. – Heb.4:15; sympathy as well as victory
2. The subtlety of Satan.
– Gen.3:1; 2 Cor.11:13-15. Temptations are often compared to the claws of a cat – soft and gentle in appearance but savage when aroused. – making bread seems reasonable; the devil even cites Psalm 91; and a little worship in exchange for the world might be rationalised away.
3. Christ’s weapon is God’s Word.
– 4:4 (Deut.8:3); 4:7 (Deut.6:16); and 4:10 (Deut.6:13). – Eph.6:10-11, 17. Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated: ‘Whatever I feel to be right is right. Whatever I feel to be wrong is wrong.’ That is not Jesus’ way. Nor was it the way of the Psalmist – Psalm 119:9-11. – the victory of the Son of God over the subtleties of Satan, and how we need to know and use the Word that God has entrusted to us.