Mars Hill Staff Devotional
From Fred Carpenter
Tested and Tempted Part 1 of 2
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” – Matthew 4:1 NASB
After Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Spirit (of God) into the wilderness to be tempted.This temptation is described in Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, and Luke 4:1–2. Notice that the Matthew 4:1 passage says the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted, but it does not say that the Spirit tempted Jesus. That is an important distinction because the Bible also says in James 1:13 that, “God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.” Satan (who is called the tempter in Matthew 4:3 and 1 Thessalonians 3:5) is the one who does the tempting.
Based upon the James 1:13 passage, notice that it was futile for Satan to tempt Jesus, for “God cannot be tempted.” In the end, the temptation of Jesus served only to further the purposes of God. It was all part of His plan. This will become even more evident as we consider the word “tempt.”
“Tempt” (or tempted) comes from the Greek word “peirazo,” which is actually a legal term meaning “to make proof of.” In light of this root definition, we could say that Satan was tempting Jesus in order to prove that He was no different than any other man that had ever lived; that He was just like Adam and that He would fold under pressure. Ultimately, the same way that a prosecuting attorney seeks to disqualify the testimony of a defendant, Satan wanted to disqualify Jesus as the Deliverer who would free mankind from Satan, sin, and death.
It is very interesting that the same Greek word, “peirazo,” is also translated in the Bible as “test” or “tested.” While God does not tempt anyone, He does test people. In Hebrews 11:17 we read that “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac.” Abraham passed the test, and God knew beforehand that he would. This test wasn’t to determine whether or not Abraham would pass or fail. It was to prove what Abraham was made of. This test was the stage on which Abraham proved his faith in God. Or as an earlier verse in that same chapter teaches us (Hebrews 11:2), this testing was the means by which “men of old gained approval.”
Simply put, Satan “tempts” us to prove that we are not who God says we are, and God “tests” us to prove that we are exactly who He says we are. The main difference between a “test” and a “temptation” is the one who is doing it. For a person who has been born again, a test from God is not like a test you might take in school, one you could pass or fail. When God tests His child, it is more like an assayer who might test gold to prove its composition.
Key Questions . . .
1) How do you look at tests? When you encounter a test in life, do you view it with anxiety or fear that you may fail? Or do you view it as an opportunity for God to prove who and what you are? Why do you view a test the way you do?
2) If you viewed every test in life as an opportunity for God to reveal His handiwork (Eph.2:10) in and through you, would your life be different? How and why?
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4 NASB
This devotional is based on Chapter 8, Lesson 45 from The HOPE Study Guide: http://www.thehopeproject.com/Home/Lesson?id=45