Answering Temptation with Truth

Matthew 4:1-11

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

” ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

Read the passage two times, make a note of the words, phrases, or verses that don’t make sense. Allow everyone to share their questions without others “answering” or “solving” them.

Without looking at the passage, retell this event in your own words. Once everyone has shared, check the passage to see if anything needs to be added or corrected.

Based on your experience with temptation, how does it work? What are the stages or steps involved? What happens first, second, third, etc.?

In what ways does the spiritual world show up in this passage?

What’s the difference between being “led by the Spirit” and “tempted by the devil? Why did God want this to happen?

Why didn’t Jesus make the bread? He was hungry and later in his ministry, Jesus would feed large crowds of more than 4,000 people and 5,000 people, why wouldn’t he feed himself?

What does this passage teach about the devil?

Where are the physical locations of each temptation? In your opinion, why do these locations matter?

What were the three temptations? Can you come up with some modern-day equivalents?

How does Jesus’ answers address each temptation? In your own words, restate each of Jesus’ answers.

In each of his answers to the devil, Jesus quoted scripture. Why is scripture helpful for fighting temptation?

Satan used scripture in his second temptation, what does this mean? Was Satan wrong or was the scripture wrong?

Why wouldn’t Jesus jump and let the angels catch him (v. 6)? Especially when the angels cam and helped him at the end of this passage…why not let them help in the middle of the event?

CHALLENGE

As you consider the biggest temptations in your life, pick one of the scriptures below for meditation and memorization:

  • “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
  • “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
  • “For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'”