Daniel Harrison | Church212.com
In Matthew 4, we read the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. The passage is interesting because it indicates that Jesus’ temptation was purposed by God.
The text specifically says, Jesus was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” and then it gives the purpose, “to be tempted there by the devil.” In other words, the Spirit led him for the purpose of temptation.
Jesus was also praying and fasting to diminish the world’s power and practice dependence on God. But a greater purpose was unfolding.
Now, we know God does not tempt us. Scripture says temptation comes from Satan alone (James 1:13-15). But in this particular instance, this moment was divinely orchestrated by God. But why?
I have always loved this part of Jesus’ story, as his temptation is essential for salvation.
Adam’s Rebellion and Jesus’ Righteousness
The temptation of Jesus in the wilderness was a divinely orchestrated comparison of the temptation of Adam in the Garden. Basically, Matthew 4 parallels Genesis 3.
The only difference is that where Adam disobeyed God bringing death to all mankind, Jesus obeyed God bringing righteousness to all mankind.Where Adam disobeyed God bringing death to all mankind, Jesus obeyed God bringing righteousness to all mankind. Click To Tweet
Romans 5:18-19 expresses this clearly,
“Therefore, as one sin lead to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all mankind. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
In other words, the text is comparing Adam’s rebellion and Jesus’ righteousness.
Because of Adam’s rebellion, “all people are under the power of sin” (Romans 3:9). But because of Jesus’ righteousness, all people can come under the power of grace.
A New Holy Race
Matthew is showing us that Jesus came to start Genesis all over again. Jesus came to be the Adam that Adam never could be.
This is why Paul calls Jesus, “the last Adam.” (1 Cor 15:45). He’s not the second or third, he is the last Adam–God’s final prototype of a perfect human being.
He is also called “The first born from among the dead.” (Col 1:18). This is important. Where all people have died spiritually through Adam, now all can be reborn spiritually through Jesus.
That old sinful lineage we read in Matthew 1 doesn’t matter anymore, because a new holy race has begun.That old sinful lineage doesn't matter anymore, we're apart of a new holy race. Click To Tweet
There’s a little picture of this in the nativity story where it says of Jesus, “So the baby to be born will be holy, the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). No other human from the fall has been called holy, because humans are born inherently sinful.
But this is why the gospel is so good.
John states how we join this new holy race started by Jesus,
“To all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God” (John 1:12-13).
In other words, by believing in Jesus’ substitutionary life, death, and resurrection, we are declared holy too. But not just holy, we will be called children of God!
Satan tempted Jesus because he wanted him to fall into sin the way Adam did, so that God’s plan of salvation for you would be lost. But Jesus remained righteous, died on the cross for our sins, and rose again to life.
Believe in him, confess him as Lord, and you too, will be called “holy, a child of God.”
For more on temptation and how to resist it, watch this sermon I taught called The Secret to Resisting Temptation.
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