Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter 7: Jesus' Three Temptations from Satan   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible Story

Chapter Seven:

Jesus' Three Temptations from Satan

     Many of the servants and prophets of God before the time
Jesus was to enter His teaching ministry, had fasted (going
without food, and often without water also) for a certain number
of days, in order to really draw close to God, and put their mind
on the task that lay before them. Moses and the prophet Elijah
were two that it is said and written of them, that they fasted
for 40 days. Moses did it twice, so it is written in the book
of Exodus.
     Jesus was certainly no less than those two great men. He was
in fact greater than them.  So it should be no surprise for us
that Matthew and Luke both mention, " And Jesus, full of the Holy
Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit for
forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And He ate
nothing in those days; and when they were ended, He was very
hungry" (Luke 4:1-2).

     Jesus needed to prepare Himself for the job ahead of Him. He
needed to draw very close to the Father, and Satan the Devil knew
he had one last big chance to do battle with Jesus and to try and
defeat Him before He even got started.

     At the end of the forty days Jesus was very hungry indeed.
Oh, the Devil may have tried tempting Him all along during all
those forty days, as His body began to weaken. Mark implies that
was the case, as he records that angels came to serve Him,
probably giving Him protection from evil demons trying to hurt
Him in some way. But at the end of those forty days, when Jesus
was really physically weak and so very hungry, Satan himself,
personally, came to Jesus to tempt Him to do wrong, to sin, and
to sign up for his team against the God in heaven.

     The Devil with sarcasm in his voice, said to Jesus, "Now IF
you are the Son of God, command these stones to become bread."
     Actually, the Devil knew very well that Jesus was the Son of
God, so it was with a sarcastic voice he said those words, trying
to needle Jesus into getting upset at his seeming doubt that He
really was God's Son. 
     Satan hoped Jesus would slip up and angrily abuse His power
and authority, and do exactly as the Devil wanted Him to do -
make bread to eat, from stones. If He had, it would have all been
from the wrong motive under this seductive temptation from the
Devil.
     
     Jesus did not fall for this trick from Satan. He knew His
Bible, and replied to the Devil by quoting it.  He said, " It is
written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word that proceeds from the mouth of God."

     Jesus left the desert and went to Jerusalem and ascended up
to the top of the pinnacle of the Temple. As He looked out over
the land before Him, Satan came along once more and said to Him,
" IF you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is
written, 'He will give His angels charge over you' and 'On their
hands they will bear you up, less you strike your foot against a
stone.' "

     Not only was the Devil still being sarcastic and acting by
trying to put doubt into the mind of Jesus by saying, "If you be
the Son of God" but he was now even quoting Scripture to tempt
Jesus to abuse and play with His power and also the Father's will
that there should be no harm or death to His Son before the time
appointed.
     Jesus knew that no Scripture stood as an island unto itself,
but must always be understood in the light of all other
Scriptures written through the inspiration of God. So, Jesus,
knowing all the other Scriptures,  was able to answer the Devil
by saying, "Again, it is written, 'You shall not tempt the Lord
your God.' "

     It is very true that God can protect us from harm such as
falling from a high place, or if in a car accident, but because
we know that God can send angels to protect us from physical
harm, does not mean we deliberately jump from a ten story
building, or stand in front of an on coming train, to say to God
that we want Him to prove He will protect us.

     Jesus came down from the pinnacle of the Temple and went to
the top of one of the high mountains around Jerusalem.  He could
see far off into the distance. His mind knew many kingdoms of
different nations and empires were out there in the world,
including the great Roman Empire, that ruled much of the main hub
of the central world at that time.
     "Ah, see all these mighty kingdoms, " said the Devil to
Jesus, "Do you see in your mind all the glory they have. Well, if
you will come on my side, worship me, and do my will, I will give
you control of all the world. You can in this physical life be
the greatest world ruler this earth has ever seen."

     Now, at this temptation, Jesus got righteously angry with
Satan. " Get out of here, be gone, Satan," was Jesus' reply to
him. "For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God,
and Him only shall you serve.' " (Mat.4: 3-11).

     With those final words from Jesus, the Devil left Him.  For
the time being he left Him, for Luke recorded in his Gospel
account that Satan departed from Him until an opportune time came
once more (Luke 4:13). 
     We are not told in any of the Gospels that the Devil ever
had another opportunity like that, to tempt Jesus to sin, as when
He fasted for forty days.

SOME OF THE RECORDINGS OF THE APOSTLE JOHN

     There are sections of the Gospel of John that are very hard,
if not impossible, to put into chronological order in the life
and ministry of Jesus Christ. There is no specific indication as
to when exactly they may have taken place during His ministry and
years of teaching and preaching, leading up to His death.
     Some, who have tried to compile a "harmony" of the Gospels,
trying to put it all in chronological order, have placed these
sections of John at the very beginning and very early on in the
public ministry of Jesus. 
     We also will do the same. Some from their very nature of
events are indeed at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, but some
others are not so clear that they were.

JESUS' FIRST DISCIPLES

     It was the next day after John the baptist had baptized
Jesus in the river Jordan. The sun had risen over the desert

hills of Judea, the air was clean, the birds were singing
their merry songs. John was getting ready to once more proclaim
the salvation and the Kingdom of God to the people coming out to
hear him speak the words of God. He was reflecting on the
preceding day, how he had known somewhat of this one called
Jesus, that through the years he had borne witness to how perfect
and sinless this man was. He had known there was something
special about Him, but yet, not having any direct revelation from
God during those years, he was not sure if this Jesus was the
Messiah Christ to come.
     Then the Lord God had spoken to him and told him that the
one whom he would baptize and the one whom he would see the
Spirit of God descending like a dove and remaining upon Him, that
someone would be the very Son of God, the very promised Messiah.

     Oh, John surely knew now who the Anointed One was. And as he
was standing and talking to and teaching a few of his disciples,
who should walk by but Jesus once again.  John noticed Jesus the
Christ and said to those within ear distance of him, "Behold, the
Lamb of God!"
     Two of John's disciples heard what he had said, and
immediately started to follow Jesus. John had taught them that
one greater than he was to come, who would be the promised
Messiah. The two disciples knew this was the man for John had now
clearly pointed Him out to them. 

     Jesus knew two men were following Him. He turned and said to
them, "What do you seek?"
     They answering said, "Rabbi (which means Teacher), where are
you staying?"  To which Jesus replied, "Well, why don't you come
with me and see."
     They needed no more invitation than that, and so went with
Jesus and stayed with Him, as it was about 4 p.m. by the time
they arrived where He was lodging for the evening and the night.
     One of the two men was called Andrew, the brother of Simon
Peter, and this Peter is well known by those who have read the
four Gospels, being an outspoken and forceful man, who became one
of the inner twelve disciples chosen by the Lord Jesus, a little
later in His ministry.

     Andrew was very excited at finding this Christ (which word
meant Messiah to them). So excited was he that he just had to run
off and find his brother Simon Peter, and not only tell him the
good news of their find, but to bring Peter back with him to meet
Jesus.
     When Jesus sees Simon He knows his basic human character and
personality, and says to him, "So you are Simon the son of Jona.
You we shall call Cephas (in English we say Peter, and which
means, a stone or boulder)."

     I'm sure they had lots to talk about with each other that
evening. The next day  Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He wanted
to find a man called Philip and He did find him. And Jesus told
him to follow along and be one of His disciples. Philip happened
to also be from the same town as Andrew and Peter, the town of
Bethsaida (which word means, house or place of fishing), and is
situated on the north-east coast of the sea of Galilee. You may
want to look it up on a map which some Bibles contain.


     Well, Philip ran off to find a friend called Nathaniel, and
said to him in an exited joyous voice, "Oh friend, we have found
the man whom Moses and the prophets have written about, He is
called Jesus, comes from the town of nazareth, and is the son of
the man called Joseph." 
     Nathaniel, with a slight grin, more like a smirk on his
face, answered by saying, "Oh, tell me another one. Can anything
good possibly come out of a pip-squeak town like Nazareth?"
     Well, you come and see for yourself then, if you think you
have the answers to this whole expectation we are looking for,"
Philip answered back to him.

     Nathaniel was up to that challenge, and so off he went with
Philip to see for himself this man called Jesus the Christ.
     Jesus sees him coming from a little way down the road. He
looks intensely at him as he got closer and closer. When within
ear shot, Jesus raised His voice and said to Nathaniel, " Behold,
an Israelite indeed, and one in whom there is no deceit, an
honest man."
     "How do you know about me," Nathaniel asked Jesus.
     "Oh, I could see you under the fig tree, before Philip came
to you," replied Jesus, just astounding Nathaniel even more, for
he was very sure that neither of them had ever met or seen each
other before this moment.

     With wonder and joy in his voice, Nathaniel exclaimed,
"Teacher, you are the Son of God - the King of Israel!"

     At this faithful statement, Jesus said, "Do you believe all
this, believe that I am the Son of God, because I told you I saw
you under the fig tree?  This is really nothing as to the things
you will see. For you will see heaven open and the angels of God
going up and down upon the Son of Man."
     Jesus was pleasantly surprised  that Nathaniel could so
quickly come to recognize that He was the Messiah, the Son of the
Most High, and related to him the greater wonders he would yet
see one day. He would see the angels serving the Son of Man. 
     That is all that is ever said about what Nathaniel would one
day see. When it took place, if it was for Nathaniel's life time
in the flesh, and not when he shall be in the Kingdom of God, we
are not told (John 1:35-51).

JESUS ATTENDS A WEDDING AND PERFORMS A MIRACLE

     A few days later (according to the continued reading in the
Gospel by the apostle John), there was a marriage at Cana in
Galilee. Jesus, His mother and His disciples were all invited.
And they all went.
     A Jewish marriage back in those days could be a very large,
festive occasion, often celebrated for a number of days, even up
to a week in length. Good wine for all the guests was the common
drink, as people came and went, offering their congratulations
and best wishes for the bridegroom and his bride.
     So many people came to this wedding that all the wine was
used up, or as we would say today, "they ran out of wine."  
     Jesus' mother, knowing of course that He was from God, and
had special powers, came quietly to Him and said, "They have no
wine."  The way she looked at Him and the way she said those
words, Jesus knew instantly what His mother was requesting Him to
do.  Miraculously make more wine.

     Jesus Himself was not intending to do a public miracle, or
make some kind of a big show, at this wedding. He answered His
mother by saying, "O woman, this does not concern you and me. My
time has not yet come." Meaning He did not yet want to go public
with His miracle working power.

     But, His mother (as mothers often have an inner sense for
things) knew He would supply the needed wine. And so she told the
servants to do whatever Jesus instructed them to do.

     There were six stone water-pots in the area, used for the
Jewish ceremonial purposes, and held about twenty to thirty
gallons each. Jesus told the servants, "Fill those jars with
water." And when they had been filled to the brim, He told them
to dip some out and take it to the master of the wedding feast.
And the servants did exactly as Jesus told them to do.
     When the master of the wedding feast tasted the water (which
had been made into wine), not knowing where it had come from
(though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom
over saying to him, "Usually a host serves the best wine first,
then when everyone is full and has enjoyed the best wine, he
brings out the less expensive wines. But you have kept the best
until now!"

     Jesus not only did an instant water into wine miracle, but
"aged" it, as it is called in the wine making trade. The very
best wine must age for a long period of time. Some wines that
have been bottled for a hundred or so years, are classified as
the best, and are expensive to buy.

     This, John says, was Jesus' first open display of His
miraculous power. The servants knew who did this miracle and
would have soon whispered it to others, until everyone there
would have known it was Jesus who had turned water into the best
of wine. 
     With this miracle, the knowledge that He was the Messiah,
the Son of God, was deeper imbedded into the minds of Jesus'
disciples.

     After the wedding the apostle John tells us that Jesus went
to Capernaum for a few days, with His mother, His brothers, and
His disciples. 
     It is more than just interesting, that John puts Jesus'
"brothers" and His "disciples" into two distinct and separate
groups.
     We have evidence from the other Gospel writers also, that
Joseph and Mary had biological children, as most married couples
hope for when they marry. Jesus had brothers, well they would
have been what we term as "half brothers" - all having the same
mother (Mary) but not the same father. Joseph was not the father
of Jesus, as we have seen, God was His father (John 2: 1-12).

               ...............................

Written January 2001 

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