Jesus' Temptations #3: The imposter king
Perspective for the teacher.
The point of the third temptation is to offer Jesus a second shortcut that would ultimately lead nowhere. To bow down to Satan would mean that Jesus would become someone disqualified to rule and reign as King, God, and Savior. Every time we give in to sin, we make the pain of the temptation process go away. When we bow down to sin, it is because we are looking for a short-cut out of temptation. When we give in, we become like Adam and Eve questioning God’s love and provision, and look to become god over our own lives.
This time, start by reading Genesis 3:1-5. Review: Especially in verse 4, what is the serpent offering to Eve?
(To be just like God!!! )
What does she have to believe about God’s love for her in order to accept the serpent’s temptation?
(She would have to believe that God is withholding good from her, and that she would have to take matters into her own hands!)
Now read Matthew 4:8-10. What is the Enemy offering to Jesus?
(To quit tempting the world. To halt his lordship over mankind’s rebellion. )
If Jesus had given into the temptation, what would have followed?
( There are many opinions. But this one thing is clear, if Jesus had bowed down then we would have no God left to worship. )
Then why is this temptation alluring to someone in Jesus’ place?
(Because His whole life is dedicated to defeating Satan. And here Satan is offering a truce if Jesus will just debase Himself. Help the group see: If the last temptation would have proved He was Messiah but would have saved no one, this one offers Him the chance to have the devil quit, but the people would have no God left to love them.)
Conclusion and questions for the group:
What is it like for us to give into the temptation to things we know are wrong? What makes it so difficult to ride out temptation all the way through without giving in? What do we say about God’s love for us when we choose sin instead?
(Conclusion: Being a disciple of Jesus means learning to trust his Fatherhood when our fears and appetites overwhelm us. When, on a heart level, we lose our belief in His love and provision for us we begin to operate out of fear which introduces destruction and pain onto our lives. But when, on a heart level, we choose to trust His love and provision for us, we begin to be free of fear and are able to live life alive to God the way we were designed to do. )