Satan’s temptations were hedonism, egoism, and materialism.
John the Evangelist in his epistle categorized these temptations as “lust of eyes” (materialism), “lust of body” (hedonism) and “pride of life” (egoism). Temptations intend to deceive and corrupt three main human characteristics; to think, wish and feel which are inside the mind, soul, and heart as Jesus alludes in the Greatest Commandment. These are related with transcendentals or ultimate ideals in three areas of human interests; science (truth), arts (beauty) and religion (goodness). Christians are called to seek for divine virtues; faith, hope, and love that link them directly to God who Himself is Truth, Beauty, and Goodness.
In Matthew and Luke “the tempter” or “the devil” tempts Jesus to:
Create bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger
Leap from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall.
Kneel before Satan in return for all the kingdoms of the world.
The HUGE deal here is that these are the basics we are faces with each day! We have shared that The Word are directions for everyday living. It is amazing that the occurrences during Jesus’ fast are not known, calmly I say “Hold your horses! We can and will ask Jesus, when that period comes…Amen! But there will be far more amazing things!”
The examples outlined in the temptations cover everyday life.
1. I can! It is said that I ‘could’; “should I?” What does The Word say? Again, the reason why we must remain in The Word. Base our lives, thoughts and feelings on The Word.
2. The second temptation: “I could, but what does The Word say?” Do not put your Father to the test! I am sure that IF Jesus had jumped, something supernatural would have occurred. But this was only the second temptation.
3. The third brings so much to bear! There are Two existences in parallel – the spiritual and the physical. What we do here – every act, every word, every thought, every desire is known. Temptations are because God permits them, knowing who and what He created.
Lord, you have examined me
and know all about me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know my thoughts before I think them.
You know where I go and where I lie down.
You know everything I do.
Lord, even before I say a word,
you already know it.
You are all around me—in front and in back—
and have put your hand on me.
Your knowledge is amazing to me;
it is more than I can understand.
Where can I go to get away from your Spirit?
Where can I run from you?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there.
If I lie down in the grave, you are there.
If I rise with the sun in the east
and settle in the west beyond the sea,
even there you would guide me.
With your right hand you would hold me.
I could say, “The darkness will hide me.
Let the light around me turn into night.”
But even the darkness is not dark to you.
The night is as light as the day;
darkness and light are the same to you.
You made my whole being;
you formed me in my mother’s body.
I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.
What you have done is wonderful.
I know this very well.
You saw my bones being formed
as I took shape in my mother’s body.
When I was put together there,
you saw my body as it was formed.
All the days planned for me
were written in your book
before I was one day old.
God, your thoughts are precious to me.
They are so many!
If I could count them,
they would be more than all the grains of sand.
When I wake up,
I am still with you.
God, I wish you would kill the wicked!
Get away from me, you murderers!
hey say evil things about you.
Your enemies use your name thoughtlessly.
Lord, I hate those who hate you;
I hate those who rise up against you.
I feel only hate for them;
they are my enemies.
God, examine me and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any bad thing in me.
Lead me on the road to everlasting life.
God allows temptation and trial because they can be good for us.
The same Greek and Hebrew words are used in Scripture for both temptation and trial. The distinction depends on intent and motivation. Is the difficult situation for the purpose of tearing down? It’s a temptation. Is it for the purpose of building up? It’s a trial.
Temptation is a lure to sin. God doesn’t do that, but He does test.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. — James 1:12-17
Remember, sin is that which is anti-God. Therefore, God will never lead someone to sin; doing so goes against His very nature. However,
He will test believers by putting them through difficult training that will both strengthen them and reveal their current conditions (like a refiner’s fire).
Both situations involve challenge. How do we know then if it’s a temptation or a trial? We don’t — that’s God’s business. In either situation, we are to remain faithful to the Lord and believe He will reveal the reason in due time. If we are obedient in a temptation, we will resist the Devil, and he will flee from us. If we’re obedient in a trial, we will emerge stronger than ever. We must believe by faith that God has our best interests in mind and not doubt His love or provision regardless of the circumstances we are going through.
Intent means everything. If I as a leader demanded that my followers run until they threw up, forced them to work for me in grueling circumstances to the detriment of their bodies, and humiliated them continually to destroy their hearts, I would be a monster. If I did it for their best interests, I would be a drill instructor. If I rubbed acid on someone’s face so that it bubbled and hurt, and the person had to take meds for weeks just to deal with the burns I created, I would be a devil. If I did it because the person asked me to, I would be a dermatologist performing a chemical peel. If I dropped heavy items on you that could crush you, only to force you to catch them and push them back up, I would be a tormentor. If I did it for the good of your body, I would be a personal trainer in the gym. If I withheld your normal food for days on end and then only gave you small amounts of berries and vegetables even though there was a bounty of food around, you would call me selfish. If I did it for your health, I’d be a nutritionist helping you with a fast or cleanse. As you can see, it’s not the brutal situation that makes something good or bad, but the motive behind it. That’s also true of troubles in our lives.
If we listen to Satan, we assume the worst of God; if we know who God is, we assume the best — and that changes everything about how we respond.
We can know He has a valuable reason for the trials we are facing.
Satan seeks to harm. He wants to take us down. He wants us to turn our back on God1 and sin.2 Satan and his demons want to rip our faces off; the only reason they can’t do that is because God holds the leash. Why doesn’t God stop them completely and keep us safe? Because safe isn’t the pathway to either strength or revelation.
God’s intention is always for believers to emerge from a trial better than when they started, either in strength or in knowledge. He promises that every situation will have a way out — an escape hatch that can be utilized through obedience.3 The way out may not be easy, and we may not always take it, but its presence means that we will never be forced to sin. God will never do that.
We will experience temptation, but let me reiterate: temptation isn’t sin.
As we’ve seen, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted yet was without sin.4 It also says,
In your anger do not sin. — Ephesians 4:26 NIV
This means that difficult, messy things are not always sin. Evil may surround us, but we can remain untouched internally, where it matters. Christians deal with too much self-condemnation for being tempted. The reality is that temptation is normal. It doesn’t mean we are bad people, only that we are human.
Too many times we think that because we struggle with something, we may as well just cave in. That’s a lie from the enemy. Of course we want to give in; that’s what temptation is. But not giving in is what resistance is.
When God tests humans, it’s always for our best. It was not an accident that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was in the middle of the garden of Eden. God could have put it in the far corner, but He placed it squarely in the center so that Adam and Eve would have to walk past it no matter where they were headed. He was helping them develop patterns of obedience, which revealed their love for Him for the supernatural world to see. Did it cost Him? Yes, of course it did. God lost His beautiful intimacy with His brand-new creation. He lost the connection that was the very purpose for mankind’s design. But God used even Adam and Eve’s failure to demonstrate the most powerful act of love known to mankind: redemption.5
An often forgotten verse from the end of Christ’s desert temptation is found in Luke 4:14, and it speaks volumes:
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee.
Jesus came out of the desert trial more powerful than He was before. He underwent temptations at the beginning of His public ministry so that His power would be present for His work. Obedience results in power. When we emerge from a trial successfully, not only is God glorified, but also we are strengthened in confidence and in the certainty of God’s will for our lives. The Holy Spirit comes in and fills that empty spot (where we empty ourselves of our pride, our needs, our cravings, or our agendas) with Himself, and we are empowered even more. God brings trials to our lives for this outcome.
Luke 22:31-32, John 13:2
1 Corinthians 10:13
1 John 4:9-10; Ephesians 2:4; John 15:13; Romans 5:8.
Excerpted with permission from The Master’s Mind by Lance Hahn, copyright Lance Hahn.
The amazing thing that has been pointed out to me in The Word is that Jesus is The Word, Amen.
I smile in the spirit when I focus on this! Satan attempted to use Jesus to ‘trick’ Jesus!
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” … Jesus is God and the revealer of God the Father. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him” (John 1:18).
We have shared this prior, but for clarity sake:
John 1:1 is the first verse in the opening chapter of the Gospel of John. In the Douay–Rheims, King James, New International, and other versions of the Bible, the verse reads: “In the beginning was The Word, and The Word was with God, and the Word was God. (This addresses so very many issues! Here on Earth, The Word was and is The Word was with God, God sent The Word – God’s very Essence to prove once and for finality that The Word could come and live among men, the life of a carpenters step-Son!
According to the Biblical account, Jesus was the son of a carpenter, Joseph of Nazareth (Matthew 13,55).
Apparently carpenters were not among the wealthy. Be that as it may, how rich could a carpenter become in the Roman province of Judaea in 1st century AD? What exactly would the social position of a Jewish carpenter’s family be?
Joseph was not rich enough to afford a lamb during Presentation and offered a pair of pigeons. But I don’t know when one were not rich enough to offer a lamb.
Sepphoris… was moneyed. It was the center of trade for the area. And if Jesus were growing up in Nazareth, which is just a walk for somebody healthy… I think it’s something like three miles. If he were a carpenter, or some kind of craftsman, he might have done work in Sepphoris….What does this imply about Jesus’ social class? It’s hard to know. I think that since he’s depicted as a pious Jew, and since pious Jews have a six-day work week, and since on the seventh day they have particular obligations that don’t allow them to take long journeys, (on the Sabbath you really are supposed to rest. You’re not supposed to hike into Sepphoris and maybe, catch a play in the afternoon, or something like that.) I don’t think that culturally, Sepphoris would have made all that much difference. I think as most people in his period who are not landed gentry, Jesus would have worked for a living for six days a week and rested on the Sabbath…
—Paula Fredriksen, Boston University
blessed with extensive leisure time.
Luke’s account provides us with a number of clues to Jesus’ economic situation:
He probably was related to a priestly family.
Jesus’ parents offered “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”, which according to Jewish law, was a concession for someone who not afford a lamb and a bird as a purification sacrifice.
His family was free to travel to Jerusalem every year for the Passover Festival.
When Jesus left his family and his job to become an itinerant preacher, he was supported financially by some of his female followers:
Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means.
The same women came prepare his body for burial in a borrowed tomb.
Recall that Luke, as a gentile writing for gentiles, would have had every reason to inflate Jesus’ status (and therefore wealth) so it’s striking that he is depicted as depending heavily on women.
Understanding Satan and Demons
When you teach a passage such as Matthew 8:28-34 where Jesus casts demons out of a pair of men and into a herd of pigs, there is no way around dealing with the reality of Satan and demons. Kids need to know that Satan and demons are real and they need to learn what the Bible truly teaches about them in an age-appropriate way. This particular passage actually has a lot of information about Satan and demons. Start by noticing what the demons say to Jesus in the encounter according to Matthew 8:29-31.
Suddenly they shouted, “What do You have to do with us, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a long way off from them, a large herd of pigs was feeding. “If You drive us out,” the demons begged Him, “send us into the herd of pigs.”
These three sentences teach us quite a bit about demons and by extension Satan, a demon himself:
They know who Jesus truly is. Notice that the demons immediately reference Jesus according to His divinity – Son of God. There was no doubt in their minds of who Jesus is. It is interesting to contrast these demons with the religious leaders in Jesus’ day. The demons rather matter-of-factly declare Jesus is God, yet despite Jesus’ propensity of evidence that He is God, the religious leaders went to great lengths to reject this truth. Demons know who Jesus is, yet they continue to reject His lordship over them.
They recognize Jesus’ authority over them. This is important. The demons don’t even try to put up a fight. Why? Because they know it is a battle that cannot be won. They can claim victory over the men they possessed. They can claim victory over leading men and women astray. Those are battles that they can win. But they know that they are powerless in the presence of Almighty God! Jesus may not be their Lord in the sense that they lovingly and willingly obey Him, but He is their Master in the sense that they must yield to His authority.
They know that they are a defeated foe. The demons know that a time is coming when they will be tormented forever in the Lake of Fire. They also seem to know that there is an appointed time for that and that time was not on this day when Jesus walked up to them. So here’s the question: If Satan and the demons know they are defeated, why continue to war against God? It’s a good question, but since when has sin been logical? Satan and his demons are a defeated foe, but they are not going down without a fight. Their goal is to cause as much turmoil as they can until their time is up. And to that end they are dangerous. Like a cornered wild animal, they will lash out and can still do quite a bit of damage requiring us to stand behind Christ and let Him battle for us.
They are not all-knowing. Satan and the demons are incredibly intelligent. They know the Bible. They know history. They know the future according to what God has revealed about it. However, do not make the mistake of thinking that they are all-knowing (omniscient). They are not. Only God is.
They reflect personhood. When we say “personhood” we mean that someone is a person, and not an impersonal force or entity. The classic three-fold definition of being a person is the expression of will, emotion, and intellect. This is a test that the demons pass. Demons are persons, not spiritual forces. That is not to say that they are people like we are. They are fallen angels – unique creations.
They are in willful rebellion against God. Here’s an interesting question: Are demons eligible to repent and be saved? The answer is no. Two reasons. One, Jesus paid the sin price for people who would believe in Him, not demons who are a separate creation. Two, as we read in this passage, the demons’ fate has already been sovereignly decreed by God. It is best to understand that no more angels will fall and no demon will be saved. So does that mean that the demons have no choice in their rebellion? Not at all. They are willingly continuing in rebellion against God and in doing so continue to store up God’s wrath against them.
The book of Job gives us some more important clues about the nature of Satan and his demons. When Satan challenges the reason why Job follows God, God permits Satan first to wreak havoc in Job’s life without touching him and then to impair Job physically without killing him. Don’t miss it. Satan could not act without God’s permission and was given clear parameters that he had to follow!
Some believe that Satan is God’s opposite and equal – sort of a yin and yang of good and evil. That is unbiblical and untrue. Satan is a created being who is under the authority of God. He is wise, but not all-knowing. Only God is omniscient. He is strong, but not all-powerful. Only God is omnipotent. He is a spirit, but he is local, meaning he can only be in one place at a time. Only God is omnipresent.
We are in danger when we don’t give Satan and his demons enough credit. There is a spiritual war going on all around. However, we are also in danger when we give Satan and his demons too much credit and put him on par with God. He isn’t and they aren’t.
One other note on Satan. He is often depicted as ruling hell for all eternity. Again, this is not what the Bible teaches. According to Revelation 20:10, Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire where he will be punished forever for his rebellion along with the rest of the demons and all who reject Jesus. He is not a ruler there. He is a bearer of God’s wrath.
So what should we do with what we know about Satan and demons as we teach our kids? Well, I certainly don’t advocate walking them through what is in this post! However, I would encourage you to look for age-appropriate ways to properly teach who Satan and demons are. Tell kids that Satan is a fallen angel along with the other demons. Tell them that he is a powerful enemy of God, but that God is more powerful. Tell them that he is defeated because Jesus has defeated him on the cross.
To return once again to the third temptation it says so very much! Satan is the father of all lies…
Speaking to a group of Jews, Jesus says, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).
Satan is the “father of lies” in that he is the original liar. He is the “father” of lies in the same way that Martin Luther is the “father” of the Reformation and Robert Goddard is the “father” of modern rocketry. Satan told the first lie in recorded history to Eve, in the Garden of Eden. After planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with a question (Genesis 3:1), he directly contradicts God’s Word by telling her, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). With that lie, Satan led Eve to her death; Adam followed, and so have we all.
Lying is Satan’s primary weapon against God’s children. He uses the tactic of deceit to separate people from their heavenly Father. Some of his more common lies are “there is no God,” “God doesn’t care about you,” “the Bible cannot be trusted,” and “your good works will get you into heaven.” The apostle Paul tells us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so that what he says and does sounds good and seems reasonable. But it is nothing more than a false appearance.
Many of Satan’s lies tend to perpetuate themselves. This is what happened when Eve convinced Adam to also believe the devil’s lie. Today, Satan still uses people to spread his lies for him. Often, he uses charismatic but foolish people to further his falsehoods, as in the case of false religions and cults.
The Bible has many names for Satan to describe his true nature, including “ruler of this world” (John 12:31), “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “tempter” (1 Thessalonians 3:5), “deceiver” (Revelation 12:9), “Beelzebub” (literally, “lord of the flies,” the ruler of demons, in Matthew 10:25), and “Belial,” meaning “wicked” (2 Corinthians 6:15).
Satan has told more lies to more people (and even angels) than any other being ever created. His success depends on people believing his lies. He has used everything from “little white lies” to huge, pants-on-fire whoppers to deceive folks. Adolph Hitler, a man who learned how to lie effectively, once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Whether a lie is small or large is not really the issue. Lies are of the devil. If you’ve lied even once, then, unless you repent, you will not enter heaven. The Bible teaches that all liars “will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). Proverbs 19:9 also teaches that anyone who lies will be punished.
Avoid this fate by obeying Mark 1:15: “Repent and believe in the gospel.” Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), and He will never deceive you. Those who come to Jesus in faith will find that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Satan stated that if Jesus were to give him honor by bending His knee, he would give Him what’s over He wished from the kingdoms here on Earth. A hard deal to beat, but Jesus did! Glory Hallelujah!
The third temptation did not begin like the first two with the words, “If you are the Son of God … .” As we will see, the devil seems to have conceded for the moment that Jesus wanted to be obedient. So the thrust of the third temptation was this: What would Jesus the Son be willing to do to establish the kingdom of God on earth?113
Although Matthew does not say so, I wonder if Jesus and the devil both had Psalm 2 in mind. That Psalm talks about the Son, the Messiah, ruling the kingdoms.114 Part of it reads:
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery” (Psalm 2:7-9).
How kingly do you think Jesus looked after 40 days and nights of fasting in the wilderness? He was alone, tired, dirty, hungry, and thirsty. Being king over God’s kingdom must have seemed a long way off. The devil seized the opportunity. In essence, he said, “Let me show you a way to fulfill your heart’s desire.” He took Jesus to a high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.115 That would have included Rome! At that moment their splendor and Jesus’ appearance would have been quite a contrast. “‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’”
There are several things to note here.
A. The appeal. Consider the appeal of the offer from the devil’s viewpoint: Jesus’ Condition
The Devil’s Offer
Deprived – tired, hungry – Splendor, not suffering
Alone with the wild animals – Significance, not obscurity
Waiting indefinitely – Instant results, not delayed
Nothing accomplished – Power to do what He wanted
In essence, so much was offered, but The Word knew precisely what was in Him, and to none other than God should a knee be bent. Amazingly, The Bible says “On that Day, EVERY knee shall bow EVERYWHERE and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, Amen”
So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
So that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and
all tribes of the Earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
And the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
And through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on Earth or in Heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the Love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: …
1 John 2:1-29 ESV