For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He was being tempted for forty days by the devil (Lk 4:1-2). However, Jesus triumphed over Satan during those temptations. Why must Jesus go through temptations? Temptation is part of the human experience. For Jesus to understand us completely, He had to go through the suffering of temptation so that He may sympathize with our weaknesses and become our merciful High Priest. The devil’s temptations to Jesus focused on three areas: physical desire, greed, and pride – the same categories of temptations we face in our own lives.
First, Satan asked Jesus to turn stones into bread to solve His immediate problem of hunger. Satan attempted to lure Jesus to misuse His divine power to meet His own personal needs. Jesus responded to Satan’s challenge by pointing out that God’s word is more important than bread. We may also be tempted to take the wrong way for satisfying our physical needs. However, there is a higher law than our physical desires, and that is the word of God.
The essence of the second temptation is the lure of power and material wealth. Satan offered the world to Jesus if He would only kneel and worship him. Jesus turned down Satan’s offer by God’s very command that we are to worship and serve only the one and only true God. Today, the devil offers us the world by trying to entice us with material possession and power. However, gaining the world but losing our soul (by giving our time, energy and loyalty to everything else other than God) would be the most foolish exchange (Mt 16:26).
The trap of the third temptation is that the devil brought truth mixed with half-truth. Satan quoted the Bible to entice Jesus to throw Himself down from the temple and let God’s angels catch Him. Jesus quoted the Scriptures, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” to show that it is wrong to deliberately put ourselves in a situation to test the truthfulness of God’s promise. To gain popularity or respect from others, we may be tempted to perform unwise or ungodly acts to prove ourselves and fall into the trap of pride.
Jesus serves as an example for us to follow when we are tempted. We need to store God’s word in our hearts and have a sincere desire to obey God’s will over our physical desires and the allurements of wealth and power. We can resist temptations by turning to God for strength and choosing to obey His word. Jesus was tempted in every way that we are tempted. Therefore, He understands what we go through and He will help us resist temptations. We can run away from temptations by running to Him through prayers.