I want to say something about temptation. It happens to me. It happens to you. It’s part of life. Let’s be clear. Jesus knew about temptation. It was part of His life too.
Mark doesn’t actually talk about the specific temptations faced by Jesus. For those, we need to check out the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
When we do, these ‘temptations’ might seem a bit irrelevant to us. Turning a stone into bread. Power over every civilization in the entire world. Throwing himself from a tower, in the assurance that he will be rescued by angels. All of these are delivered if Christ will only worship Satan. Jesus rejects his temptations because they are against God’s will. We know that because he rejects them by referencing Scripture.
Think about your own temptations. Tempted to dive into a relationship which you know is wrong. Money or property which isn’t yours, but you could just take it. Do something which you know you really shouldn’t. Don’t do something which you know that you really should. Tempted to do things which are contrary to Scripture. This is the stuff of life.
We are tempted because we think these things are possible. Like a misbehaving child we are tempted to push the boundaries. You’ve probably tried it. You might have got away with it. You might not.
Jesus had been fasting for days. The temptation to turn stones into bread must have been enormous. There are millions of people in the world right now who would do it if they could. The difference with Jesus is that the one who turned water into wine clearly could if he chose, actually turn pebbles into bread rolls. The one who was given all authority in heaven and earth, could have subjugated all the nations and assumed power over them. The Son of God could summons the angels in time of need. So the point is that these are temptations which were within His reach. He could have done these things.
Here’s the point. He was tempted by things which he could do. I can’t do the things Jesus could do. He knew that they were things which God didn’t want Him to do. Three times he resisted temptation, because He was committed to doing what God wanted Him to do.
There will be times – no if’s, no but’s – when you will be tempted to do things which you might think you can get away with. Things which you know that you shouldn’t be doing. Things which you think will make you feel good. If you want to follow Jesus, the answer is simple. Don’t do it. Be strong. Just don’t do it.
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10: 13