Lessons Addicts Can Learn from the Temptations of Jesus, Part 1

In Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew writes about the temptations of Jesus. Matthew records the first temptation as follows:

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry.  3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'”

In the first temptation, Jesus was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil” (4:1). Jesus Himself, full of the Spirit (cf. Luke 4:1), was taken into the wilderness under the Spirit’s control and guidance. We too, if we are being led by the Spirit, will be led into deserts in life. Many lessons can be learned from our wilderness times. Moses, though fully educated in the best universities/schools of its time, learned how to shepherd and lead in the wilderness. Israel learned to trust and obey their God in the wilderness (cf. Num 21:8-9; Jn 3:15-16). One of the sayings that I like is: “This too shall pass.” While I would love to preach some sort of prosperity gospel where we can name it and claim it. The Bible doesn’t teach such a message. Instead, the Bible says to us, “Wherever you are in life, God will be there.” After all, Jesus’ name is Emmanuel, God with us. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells us that he will be with us always. Psalm 23:4 states, “As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” So even in the wilderness, God is there. And being in the wilderness itself, may be a sign that you are following the Lord’s will in your life.

Jesus was led into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil.

2 comments

  1. Great post! I’m reminded that the Greek term for lead is actually ekbalo, a term that means to throw someone into a situation. That said, I agree that God will throw us into situations, but he desires for us to depend on Him during them. As we depend on Him, we grow in our understanding of God and are able to grown through our temptation. Therefore, God wants us to catch what a relationship with God can look like when he becomes the source our dependence to live life pleasing to him. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Hello,

    When Matthew writes, “Jesus was led by the Spirit,” the word for led is the word anago (αναγω), which means “to lead or bring up.” While this term is not used in the temptations of Jesus in Matthew 4 or Luke 4 (uses ago [αγω]), it is, however, used in Mark 1:12 where the Spirit impelled Jesus to go into the wilderness. So it is interesting, why did Matthew and Luke change this word?

    εκβαλλω refers more to casting out. It’s overwhelming use is in the casting out of demons (cf. Matt 7:22; 8:16, 31; 9:33-34; 12:24, 26-28; 17:19) or casting people into places (cf. Matt 8:12; 9:25 [crowd sent out]; 9:38; 10:1, 8; 21:12, 39; 22:13; 25:30) though it does appear elsewhere (e.g., Matt 7:4-5; 12:35; 13:52). It primarily carries a negative connotation where a person is driven out or expelled forcibly or non-voluntarily though it can be used without the connotation of force-yet that is its imagery. It is in this secondary sense that Mark uses this word. It isn’t surprising that Mark uses this more picturesque term, being a gospel of action. However, Matthew and Luke, who are more prolific in their writing, change the word and smooth out the understanding.

    However, I like what you say about Mark 1:12. God does indeed throw us into situations where he desires us to depend on Him, grow in our knowledge of Him, and grow in our endurance of temptation. Good words!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *