Tempted By Satan
Matthew 4:1 – Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
When reading the Bible, you begin to recognize repeatable patterns associated with tangible things if you know what to look for. One of those patterns is associated with trees.
In the Garden of Eden, there were two trees. One was the Tree of Life. The other? The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you from it you will surely die. – Genesis 2:16
The first Adam was presented with a simple choice couched in a singular command. “Choose life. Choose Me. Don’t eat from that one tree in the middle of the garden. As for every other tree or plant, eat to heart’s content.” The fruit of that one tree was dangerous, but there was also a dangerous voice—the voice of the Destroyer, Satan. Ultimately, Adam and Eve made a deadly decision to follow the counsel of Satan over God.
You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it (the tree) your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. – Genesis 3:4b-5
Throughout the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), trees on high places of worship presented the same choice repeatedly. “Choose the LORD, and you will live! Choose the other tree and you will die.” The design structure of the Bible leads learners to look for a favorable outcome or conclusion, building on a yearning for someone to be victorious over Satan. Following the garden story of the fall, the redemptive story of the Gospel unfolded through the lives of deeply flawed men and women. Tree after tree throughout HIStory, no one qualified as the long-awaited Victor. No one!
Suddenly, at the Jordan River near Jericho, the Second Adam received His endorsement by His Father and the Holy Spirit. Following Yeshua’s baptism by Yochanan the Immerser, He entered the wilderness to be tested by Satan.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. – 1 John 2:16-17
All Have Sinned
Except for Enoch and Elijah, every other person eventually died. Why? It is because no one consistently did the will of God, choosing instead to eat from their own tree. Following forty days of fasting in the desolate Judean Wilderness, Satan presented Yeshua with the same choice offered to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, and untold billions of people. But with Jesus? Three trees. Three victories.
Long before being tempted by Satan in the desert, Jesus was victorious. Satan knew who Jesus was. The Son of God was there when Satan was thrown out of heaven. The Son of God made the first sacrifice in the Garden of Eden. Ultimately, on another tree, Jesus stuck the final blow to Satan’s head. He’s already dead. He simply doesn’t know it.
What about you? Have you chosen the right tree? Choose life!
New Testament Lessons
- Jesus spent the next forty days following His baptism in the region where Israel wandered for 40 years. During that time, Jesus was tempted by Satan for 40 days. Satan tempted Jesus three times.
- With each temptation, Jesus countered it with a quotation from the book of Deuteronomy, beginning with “it is written…”
- Satan’s temptations accomplished two critical objectives for Jesus. First, Jesus demonstrated His perfect humanity, qualifying Him as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”Second, Jesus proved His divinity.
- Skim through the book go Genesis. Identify the places where God was worshipped on mountains or high places. Notice the references to trees or wood in those passages.
- Some of the accounts you identified are associated with the worship of God. Others are associated with the worship of “other gods.”
- What do you believe? Who are the “other gods?” Who is Satan?
- How would you explain the temptation of Jesus by Satan to someone interested in the story of Jesus’ temptations? Is it an actual event or allegory? Explain you reasoning.
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