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The Temptation of Christ (Part 1): Types and Antitypes

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The Temptation of Christ (Part 1)

Types and Antitypes

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The Temptation of Christ (Part 1): Types and Antitypes

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The temptation of Jesus Christ as outlined in the Gospel accounts serves symbolically as an antitype of Israel's wandering in the wilderness. When Satan tempts Christ throughout that 40 day period, Christ repeatedly directs our adversary, and through His recorded words, us, to the example of Ancient Israel. Why? What is the reason? What are the lessons that we need to understand and learn from this section of scripture as we consider the example of Christ, and His successful thwarting of the devil's advances?

Transcript

[Mr. Ben Light]: Well brethren, as we came home from the Feast of Tabernacles, we all returned home from an annual opportunity to experience a foretaste of a time to come in which Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It is a time in which all other nations, all other kingdoms, become that of God’s, and His way and His laws cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

And again, I’m not, you know, 100% sure where everyone attended this year. I’m still looking forward to hearing from that, but I’m sure that wherever you chose to attend this year, that the messages really helped to paint a beautiful picture of this coming time. And it’s a time in which, as we talked about at the Feast in various capacities, it’s a time in which the restoration of all things finally comes. Now it’s incredible to imagine these things. It’s incredible to consider what it will be like, you know, to kind of live in that way for a time while we are there on that site.

But as we were reminded at the Feast this year, and certainly upon our return to our homes, as of now, this is still Satan’s world. You know, Scripture tells us that’s the case. You can jot this down if you like – we won’t turn there – but 2 Corinthians 4 talks about how Satan is the god of this age – god, small “g” – but he is the god of this age. John talks about how he is the prince of this world, and as a result, that this world is ultimately under his control. We know that this world is under his direct authority at this time, and until the return of Christ, it will remain so.

Now as often happens in businesses or governments, organizations as a whole, the tone or the culture so to speak of that organization or that government or that business, whatever it may be, that tone and that culture will be shaped by the worst behavior that the leadership of that organization, business or government is willing to tolerate. And as such, when you take a look at the world around us, when you look at this world and where it is today, it is not difficult to see Satan’s fingerprints all over it.

Let’s begin today by turning to 1 John 2, and we’ll go ahead and we’ll see the apostle John’s words to the believers in the late first century, talking to them about the world in which they lived – about the culture in which they found themselves, the societal trends that they faced, the lure that the world had for those believers at that particular time in history. You know, we look at these various things, we consider these various things, and we see all of the effects of that point in time historically, as well as in the writings of the apostle John.

1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
American King James Version×
, John writes the following – he says:

1 John 2:15-17 1 John 2:15-17 [15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. [17] And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God stays for ever.
American King James Version×
– “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” And John goes on to say in verse 17: “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

Now we take a look at this admonition, and we consider kind of what it means, we recognize this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a binary situation – that it’s an either/or mentality. The world around us, we recognize, it’s not all evil. There is good. But when Adam and Eve partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and their eyes were opened, it set mankind on a trajectory in which a hybridization occurred. That there was good and evil, and while the balance of those things have been, kind of societally, have fluctuated with time and with history – some point in time in history things really tipped the scales strongly, and we reached a point where every intention of the heart of man was evil continually. We reached a point that God destroyed all of mankind, save Noah’s family.

So the balance of those things societally have fluctuated with time. But what this does not mean, when we take a look at the situation that is written here in 2 John, it does not mean that, as some sects of Christianity teach, that in order to uphold this, that in order for us to be able to do these things, that we must separate from the world entirely, living simply, forgoing the use of electricity, forgoing modern convenience, living in communities of similar belief in communes, so to speak. Though admittedly, I don’t know, I think about that sometimes, it might be a respite from the fast-paced kind of challenges of the world around us today.

But God expected that His people would be in the world, but not of it. And in order for us to be able to achieve this, God has provided His people with wisdom, with discernment. And that wisdom and discernment is a function of God’s Spirit dwelling in us. God’s expectation is that we are ultimately going to use it in order to determine that which is in line with His law and His instruction. And ultimately, evaluating that which is before us.

So what John is admonishing the brethren in 1 John 2:15 1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
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, is to be careful what they found themselves drawn to – to not grow too attached, so to speak. Because as John said, the world is passing away. And with it, obviously, that which is in it.

You know, this message would have been a message that was incredibly important to those living at the end of the first century. You know, at the end of the first century, the Roman Empire began to enter its golden years. You know, it kind of was achieved under Emperor Trajan in the mid-100’s AD. That was when it reached the largest military expansion, when it reached the largest extent of the empire before the decline began. But Augustus was once quoted as saying, “I found Rome a city of bricks, and I left it a city of marble.” As Rome entered the second century, its influence culturally, it’s militarily, military and territorial expansions continue. And ultimately, this civilization provided a number of benefits to its citizens. The Roman Empire was opulent. It had incredible comforts. But it was also a place of substantial evil. And John is warning the believers to avoid the lusts, to avoid the desires, to avoid the cravings, so to speak, for what that world provided, and to not become so attached that when it was destroyed, similarly to Lot’s wife, that we look back.

And this balance – you know, we think about it in our own lives – this balance can be hard to achieve. And so it can be tempting to take a stance of either/or – kind of taking the binary solution, so to speak. But is that what God desires? Is that the way to deal with this world and its pulls, or does God expect us to use His Word and His Spirit to evaluate that which we see?

You know, this message is going to serve as an introduction to a series of messages that I’m going to be giving on the topic of temptation. And in them, we’re going to analyze the one example that we have of a Person who successfully avoided temptation throughout His entire life – and that is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ – and how He served as an antitype to Israel and their failures in doing the same. And so, as we analyze His successes, we’re also going to examine Israel’s failures – the temptation which they experienced. Because again, when we talk of temptation, often our mind goes to very specific concepts as a result of the society in which we live. But the reality is, temptation takes many forms, and if we’re not aware of those forms, or we only think of temptation as being one thing, or even a certain category of things, well, we can be blindsided by it. It can come at us unexpectedly when it takes a different form and we’re unable to battle it effectively. Within Christ’s example are lessons that all of us can apply in our own lives today as we consider the calling which God has provided us, and ultimately the path that all of us are on toward His Kingdom.

So the title for the message today is “The Temptation of Christ.” And this will serve as a part one, but the subtitle, I guess, is “Types and Antitypes.” Because what we want to do is establish this connection between Jesus Christ and ancient Israel. To be able to make this connection and to understand that the things that He did during the temptation that He was provided in the wilderness, in many ways, serve as a direct connection to that which was occurring in ancient Israel, and the issues and the experiences that they faced.

So, let’s start by just taking a look at what – we’re talking about temptation – what are we even talking about? What exactly are we getting at here? Because it’s important that we define our terms. The Oxford Online Dictionary defines temptation as “the desire to do something, especially something,” (and they put in after the comma), “especially something wrong or unwise.” They have a second definition which is, “a thing,” (this is the noun version of it), “a thing or a course of action which tempts someone.” Now etymologically, you take a look at where the word came from, it came from the Latin word temptare, which means “to test” or “to try”. To test or to try.

So within the word itself is an implication that there is a specific course of action that is perhaps most beneficial, but that the temptation takes a form of a short-term desire or urge for enjoyment that might derail that path which is most beneficial. So, it’s a test in such a way that a person must forgo the short-term desire in order to obtain the long-term goal.

And so temptation then can often take the form of instant gratification, or we might say a lack of self-control, or impulsivity, but I think it’s important to note that it is not always instant gratification. And sometimes we think of it in those terms, and it’s not always instant gratification. But I think it’s really important to recognize that it does come about as a function of our desires.

Let’s go over to the book of James. James has quite a bit to say about trials and temptations, has quite a bit to say about the kind of patient perseverance that we all need in result of these things. We’ll go to James, we’ll go to James 1, we’ll pick it up in verse 12 of James 1. James 1:12 James 1:12Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
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says:

James 1:12 James 1:12Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
American King James Version×
– “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

So “blessed” is the man who endures temptation. Temptation, then, as we look at the way James wrote this, is something then that must be endured, something that we experience, something that we do not give into – despite the fact that it’s present, we don’t give into, or somehow allow it to take center stage in our life. Instead, we maintain the focus on the long-term goal – we maintain the focus on the long-term thing, whatever that may be – and not give into that short-term desire. So, it is an endurance sport, so to speak. It’s something in which we must endure.

James talks about the method by which the temptation occurs ultimately in its source. Verse 13 of James 1 says:

V-13-15 – “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” Verse 14: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

So, we need to be careful when we determine a source of temptation. You know, sometimes we can conclude somehow that God is trying us in some way. According to what’s written here in James 1, God doesn’t tempt anyone. He’s not the source of that temptation. Does He allow temptation to occur? Yes, He does. Yes, He does, because He allows men to act upon their nature. He allows men to make decisions in accordance with their free will, but He does not place that temptation specifically.

Now our desires – which the Greek word epithymia, which means “desire, lust or craving” – our desires, if they’re not governed properly and with an understanding of where it comes from, those things lead to sin, and ultimately lead to death.

And James goes on in chapter 4 – James, chapter 4 – he goes on to talk about those desires. He goes on to talk about the lust for that which we cannot have, and ultimately, what causes the strife and the wars and the quarrels over our desire for pleasure. Talks about how we lust for what we cannot have, and that ultimately, we have war and we have quarrel over those things. Those desires and those wants can cause a great degree of challenge in our spiritual life. And ultimately, can be some of the issues that can be in place interpersonally in our lives as we have interpersonal relationship issues with other people. It can come from unmet desires for a variety of things within that relationship.

So, these desires and these wants can cause a great degree of challenge ultimately in our spiritual life. But again – we mentioned earlier – because of our society today, because of the way that our society is, we get a certain concept in our head with regards to what temptation is, and what that looks like. But temptation is not just sexual. It’s not just financial. They’re not just sugary sweet confections or substances. Temptation can look like a desire for control. It can look like a desire to be our own authority. It can look like a desire to do what we want to do – to be the captain of our own vessel, so to speak – without anybody else telling us what we can or cannot do. Temptation can look like the desire to live a life that is smooth sailing without any challenges. Temptation can be the desire that we have for success, for prosperity, for fame, for security, even happiness. The list goes on.

And so, temptation can take a lot of different paths. It can take a lot of different ways. And we do ourselves an incredible disservice when we only view it in certain ways. We do a very incredible disservice when we only view it in certain ways.

Let’s turn over to Hebrews 4. Hebrews 4. This is incredibly important when we consider the temptation that we face, when we consider the issues that we come across, we consider the various things that we experience in the world around us today, societally, that Jesus Christ experienced many of the same things. And I say, “same things,” in quotes, in some ways there. But Hebrews 4:14 Hebrews 4:14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
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says:

Hebrews 4:14-16 Hebrews 4:14-16 [14] Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
American King James Version×
– “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 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.” Verse 16, then, says: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

That means that Jesus Christ, our High Priest, experienced it all. That there is no desire, no temptation or trial that you face today that in some capacity He didn’t face Himself and can empathize with. Does that mean that Christ knew what it meant to miss a football game on Friday night because of the Sabbath? Well, specifically, no. But does that mean that He understands when our desires may go against the Word of God? Does He understand having an enjoyable time at an activity and then having to put that activity aside because holy time has begun? Absolutely, He does. He knows that internal struggle that occurs at those times.

Now, it’s really important that we look at and consider what it means in verse 15. Verse 15, again, of Hebrews 14 says:

Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
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–  “...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."

That’s significant. That is incredibly significant, because that means that when we analyze His example, and how He confronted the temptations that He faced in His life, the strategies that He used to both identify and bring those desires into captivity, as well as turn around and counter that temptation with the Word and Spirit of God, that’s important. Because we’re going to have opportunity to see how He rebuked Satan in those times, how He took those thoughts captive, and not only that, there’s additional lessons built into that as well.

Let’s go ahead and turn over to one of those accounts of Christ’s temptation, because there are some points that I want to pull out of the background here as we build this concept going into this series. I want to build the background a little bit, because I want us to recognize exactly what it is that He dealt with. Let’s go ahead and we’ll turn over to Luke 4. Luke 4. Typically, we go to Matthew 4 – it’s just one of the easier ones to find. I went to Luke 4 on purpose, because there’s some slightly different wording here that, I think, is significant and important. Because I think we consider temptation, we consider the issues that we face,  you know, the reality is yes, the people are different, the places change, but the playbook, when it comes down to what our adversary does in our spiritual battles, the playbook, brethren, is the same. The playbook is the same.

Luke 4 – we’re going to take the 30,000 foot overview here of the experience. We’re going to read through the section. You can see the individual temptations that he received. We’re going to take time in this series to dig into each of those a little bit further, and go back into the example of ancient Israel, because Christ is very specifically pointing to ancient Israel at this time. Luke 4, and we’ll pick it up in verse 1:

Luke 4:1-13 Luke 4:1-13 [1] And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, [2] Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungry. [3] And the devil said to him, If you be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. [4] And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. [5] And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed to him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. [6] And the devil said to him, All this power will I give you, and the glory of them: for that is delivered to me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. [7] If you therefore will worship me, all shall be yours. [8] And Jesus answered and said to him, Get you behind me, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. [9] And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down from hence: [10] For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you: [11] And in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone. [12] And Jesus answering said to him, It is said, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. [13] And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
American King James Version×
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.’ But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”’ Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore” – verse 7 – “if You will worship before me, all” – of this, or all – “will be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.”’” Verse 9: “Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,” and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”’” And verse 12: “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It has been said, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”’ Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.”

We know, based on this and based on the other accounts, that Christ fasted in the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. Brethren, that’s not coincidental. That is a callback to the wandering of Israel in the wilderness for forty years. And as you take a look at how Christ goes about rebuking Satan, structurally, in this temptation, He consistently references back to scriptural events that took place during the wanderings of Israel. And that callback is intentional. It’s purposeful. Christ, through both the actions that He’s taking, and the scriptures that He’s choosing to counter Satan with, is deliberately pointing us, the reader, to the Israelites and their experiences in the wilderness.

He’s also in the process of fulfilling a prophecy that’s found in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Deuteronomy 18:15-18 [15] The LORD your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the middle of you, of your brothers, like to me; to him you shall listen; [16] According to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said to me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like to you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
American King James Version×
. We won’t turn there – because this is a split – but Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Deuteronomy 18:15-18 [15] The LORD your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the middle of you, of your brothers, like to me; to him you shall listen; [16] According to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said to me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like to you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
American King James Version×
– you can jot that in your notes. But it’s a prophecy in which God promised that a prophet like unto Moses would be raised up from among the people. Moses was known to have fasted for forty days and forty nights. Elijah fasted for forty days and forty nights. And when John the Baptist came, the Pharisees who knew these prophecies, they came to John and asked, “Are you the Messiah? Are you Elijah?” Because they were expecting the coming of this Prophet foretold in Deuteronomy 18:15-18 Deuteronomy 18:15-18 [15] The LORD your God will raise up to you a Prophet from the middle of you, of your brothers, like to me; to him you shall listen; [16] According to all that you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said to me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brothers, like to you, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him.
American King James Version×
, that would ultimately fulfill these prophecies. Christ, in many ways, in going through this forty days and forty nights, is staking claim on being that Prophet.

Now, a second thought process here, as we kind of look at this: I don’t know about you guys, but when I’ve considered this account in the past, I’ve kind of considered it in the way that it’s written in Matthew 4. In Matthew 4, it’s written in a way that makes it seem like Christ went out into the wilderness, He spent forty days fasting, and then all of a sudden up pops Satan at the end of that forty days, and he plays off of Christ’s hunger to really begin the temptation. Then he just, boom boom boom boom, in rapid succession. But what does Luke record? What does Luke record in Luke 4:2 Luke 4:2Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungry.
American King James Version×
? Luke 4:2 Luke 4:2Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungry.
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, he says:

Luke 4:2 Luke 4:2Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungry.
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– “...being tempted for forty days by the devil.”

Brethren, Christ not only fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was consistently tempted throughout that time by Satan. He was buffeted by our adversary as He spent time in the Judean wilderness. Now that wilderness that is being referenced here, it’s a very inhospitable place. You know, it looks like a lunar landscape. It’s just, you can take a look at it – you can even type in Judean wilderness into Google Images, and search it up. It is a place that’s full of rocks. It is an incredibly challenging landscape. And I found some references that talked about archaeological digs that were taking place in some parts of that area, and they were talking about how it’s so miserably hot during, you know, 90% of the year, that they can only dig and do the digs during the months of January and February. Because if they don’t, it gets so incredibly hot, the conditions are just so difficult that they can’t progress and they can’t go forward. But, it’s in this environment that Christ found Himself, along with the wild beasts of the wilderness, and under spiritual attack as He fasted for forty days and forty nights.

Now Luke, in his account – and Matthew as well – records three specific challenges by Satan. Now, obviously, these are going to be the examples that Christ recounted to His disciples, but any other additional temptations or challenges that may have taken place during those forty days, they’re unknown. I mean, we don’t know. It talks about how He was tempted for forty days by Satan. We have three examples of what Satan brought before Him. And it could have been that it was one, and then a break, and then two, and then a break, and then three. Or, it could have been that these were just the three things that He brought forth to His disciples later, and that’s what they chose to write down and chose to record, as He recounted that part of His life. It’s hard to know for sure. It’s hard to know exactly what happened during that time frame, but it does seem to imply that for forty days, Jesus Christ was attacked spiritually by an adversary.

Now, interestingly, each of Satan’s attacks begin with the words, “If You are the Son of God…” “If You are the Son of God.” He’s really trying to call into question who and what, Christ is. We’ve talked about this before with regards to this concept, but Satan knows full well who Christ is. He knows the same prophecies we know. He understands what ultimately is going to become of him. There’s no question that Christ is the Messiah. But he attempted to plant that seed of doubt within Christ as to His anointing – maybe to get Him to question, or to consider, or maybe have a momentary skip, so to speak, as to, and really ask the question of whether His God was really with Him.

Now interestingly, Luke 4:13 Luke 4:13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
American King James Version×
says that when Satan ended all of his temptations, that he departed from Christ. Now, it says until when? Well, Luke 4:13 Luke 4:13And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.
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, says that he departed from Him until an opportune time. Well, when was that opportune time? Let’s go over to Matthew 27. Matthew 27 – we’ll go ahead and pick it up in verse 35 of Matthew 27. Matthew 27:35 Matthew 27:35And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and on my clothing did they cast lots.
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, it says

Matthew 27:35-44 Matthew 27:35-44 [35] And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and on my clothing did they cast lots. [36] And sitting down they watched him there; [37] And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. [38] Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. [39] And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, [40] And saying, You that destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself. If you be the Son of God, come down from the cross. [41] Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, [42] He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. [43] He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. [44] The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.
American King James Version×
– “Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.’ Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, ‘He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, “I am the Son of God.”’ Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.”

Note the formula. “If You are the Son of God…” In this case, “come down from the cross.” Luke 23:36 Luke 23:36And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
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records, it wasn’t just the people there watching – the Jewish people that were gathered at that time, people of the land – not only that, the Roman soldiers joined in, offering Him vinegar, mocking Him, tempting Him to save Himself. Again, “If You are the Son of God…” Satan, once again, came in the time of Messiah’s greatest distress. As He hung there crucified, in agony, with the sins of mankind laid on His head, yet with no responsibility for those sins, Satan once again tried to call into doubt God’s plan. Christ held strong. He was able to forgo the short-term relief of His suffering for the long-term goal – giving up His life for you and for me, in accordance with God’s plan.

Let’s go over to Matthew 26, and we’ll see, just in the hours before Christ’s arrest, after the Passover, He and His disciples went out from the upper room to the Garden of Gethsemane – which likely meant a walk through the old city – likely right in front of the Temple Mount, actually, as it led to the gate towards the Mount of Olives. But Matthew 26 – we’ll go ahead and pick it up in verse 36. Matthew 26:36 Matthew 26:36Then comes Jesus with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder.
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says:

Matthew 26:36-46 Matthew 26:36-46 [36] Then comes Jesus with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, Sit you here, while I go and pray yonder. [37] And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. [38] Then said he to them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death: tarry you here, and watch with me. [39] And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will. [40] And he comes to the disciples, and finds them asleep, and said to Peter, What, could you not watch with me one hour? [41] Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. [42] He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, your will be done. [43] And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. [44] And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. [45] Then comes he to his disciples, and said to them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. [46] Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that does betray me.
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– “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’” So that was the instructions that He gave to the three disciples that had come with Him. “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” Verse 40: “Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, ‘What! Could you not watch with me one hour?” Could you not watch with Me one hour? “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” Verse 42: “Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.’” Verse 43: “And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. Then He came to His disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.’”

Now, I appreciated the first split that Mr. Koester gave on the concept of waking up and coming out of sleep. You know, in this situation, these men were asked by their Rabbi to stay awake with Him in His time of need. And yet, in their situation, they were tired. They were worn out. They wanted a little nap, so to speak. But Christ brought the disciples that were part of His inner circle. He brought Peter, James, and John, and again, as He’s thinking about and He’s considering that which was to come, He’s becoming sorrowful and deeply distressed. He was in need. He asked His disciples to watch, to be alert, to stay vigilant with Him, knowing that His betrayer was coming. These are the final moments here before he was arrested and betrayed and tried, and again, we see that while Christ prayed, His disciples fell asleep. He rebukes the disciples, saying, “Could you not watch for one hour?” Literally, that’s it! Just a single hour. “Could you forgo the short-term need for sleep for one hour’s time and stay awake with Me?” And He said, “…for the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” They may have desired to do so, but they were just so tired they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

So, He tells the disciples – and I think this is an incredibly important aspect of this particular passage – to watch and pray – remain vigilant, so to speak, and pray – lest you enter into temptation. Now, that echoes kind of the concept that He outlined for them in Matthew 6, in the model prayer, praying regularly, and each and every day, when we pray to God, asking for Him not to lead us into temptation, to deliver us or to rescue us from the evil one. Christ goes back to pray again, pouring out His heart to the Father, and returns to find them asleep yet again! Notice this time, He didn’t wake them up. He went back and He prayed a third time with the same words, and when He came back they were still asleep, and as He spoke the next words to them, Judas arrived with the temple guard to arrest Christ.

You know, we look at this account, and we consider the disciples, and we consider the issues that they were facing, and we recognize the disciples were painfully human. As all of us are, giving in to those short-term needs in the moment, rather than being able to stay awake with their Rabbi in His time of need. But brethren, we are all susceptible to temptation. We’re all susceptible to the attacks of our adversary, and not everybody responds in the same way, not everybody responds to the same thing. But as humans, temptation is a common occurrence. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

Let’s go over to 1 Corinthians 10 – take a look at the apostle Paul’s words here. And I find this interesting, because, again, we’re talking here today – trying to establish the beginning of this series of messages on this idea – this type and antitype of Christ – and how Christ ultimately is the fulfillment, or, a modern-day reenactment, so to speak, of the time that Israel spent in the wilderness and were tempted – consistently again, sending back into Scripture to those times in which Israel was wandering in the wilderness. But you’ll note that Paul uses, in fact, a very similar example. Apostle Paul uses the first part of the chapter here to describe the examples that we also have in the Old Testament. And it begins similarly to Christ in His fulfillment of the forty days and forty nights in the wilderness – pointing back to Israel – so too does Paul’s example here. 1 Corinthians 10, and we’ll pick it up in verse 1.

1 Corinthians 10:1-13 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 [1] Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; [2] And were all baptized to Moses in the cloud and in the sea; [3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat; [4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. [5] But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. [6] Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. [7] Neither be you idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. [8] Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. [9] Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. [10] Neither murmur you, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. [11] Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come. [12] Why let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. [13] There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
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– “Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them” – verse 5 – “God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.” And verse 6, we’ll notice, as Paul brings to mind this example of the Israelites, as he kind of draws the attention of the brethren of Corinth to their story, and ultimately, to us as a reader much further down in time, back to this exact story as well, and kind of connects the exact reason why Christ continually pointed to that direction as well. Verse 6: “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And not to become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, ‘the people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’” Verse 8: “Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.” Verse 11 – why did all of these things take place? Verse 11: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” So Paul references specific occurrences that happened to the people of Israel as they wandered. He references the issues, he references the challenges that they faced. He references the temptations they experienced as they did it opposite of God’s way. He talks about the immorality. He talks about the complaints, the lusting after evil things, and the idolatry that they committed. Why were these things recorded? They were recorded for our admonition. They were recorded as examples to us. Paul goes on to say to the Corinthians, he says: “upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” Brethren, we’re not ancient Israel. But do we have the same proclivities? Do we have the same desires that they had, the same human nature? Do we have the same stiff-neckedness, so to speak, and rebellious nature that Israel had? Again, the people and the places may change, but ultimately, the playbook remains the same. Why does the playbook remain the same? Because the plays are effective. Because humans have the same weaknesses. Humans have the same issues. Verse 12 – 1 Corinthians 10:12 1 Corinthians 10:12Why let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
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, “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” Verse 13: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

These temptations, these desires that we see in Scripture, these things that we look back in the examples of ancient Israel, these things are common to man. Again, we experience the same desires, albeit in different ways, right? But at their core, the desires and the lusts and the cravings are the same.

But what I want you to see here too, as we kind of bring things to a close here today, with this introductory message, is that God always makes a way of escape. And I think that’s incredibly encouraging, because regardless of the temptation, God always provides a way out. That means that in every scenario that we face, in every situation that we experience, every temptation that comes our way, there is a way out. God has provided a way out. He’s provided a way of escape. But that requires us to have our heads up. It requires us to have our eyes paying attention, to be looking. But the sin that comes from those things, as James talked about – how those things would lead down that road to sin – that’s not inevitable. There’s a way out, if we’re looking for it and we’re seeking that way of escape.

Brethren, we’re not far removed from the Israelites in our nature, in our proclivities, and ultimately, when you take a look at Scripture and you look back into half of this Bible that’s sitting in front of us, it is the example of Israel throughout history. And that example is for us. So when we see the temptation of our Lord and Savior outlined in the gospel accounts, and as He is symbolically reenacting their experience in the wilderness, but, successfully without sin. But He is pointing us specifically to their example. Brethren, we should be paying attention. And we should take notice.

So what lessons can we learn today from the temptation of Christ? The remainder of this series is going to explore these individual temptations that Satan brought against Him, ultimately, and is going to provide for certain scriptural examples and certain lessons that we can learn from those events in Israel’s history, so that we consider, and we can take a look at the various temptations and the issues that we face today.

I hope that you all have a very happy Sabbath. Looking very much forward to seeing all of you in person next Sabbath. We will have the Blessing of Little Children in the various areas, so please contact me if you have anyone who needs to be blessed – anyone who’s going to be there in either Eugene or Salem. So, we look forward to seeing you in person and doing the Blessing of Little Children this coming Sabbath.