The probation of the Lord Jesus is an interesting and important study, especially that part of it styled, the Temptation of Satan. Paul, speaking of Him as the High Priest under the New Constitution, says,
"He was put to the proof in all things according to our likeness, without transgression" (Heb. 4:15); that is, "having taken hold of the seed of Abraham," "being found in fashion as a man," the infirmities of human nature were thus laid upon Him.
He could sympathize with them experimentally; being, by the feelings excited within Him when enticed, well acquainted with all its weak points. By examining the narrative of His trial in the wilderness, we shall find that He was proved in all the assailable points of human nature. As soon as He was filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1) at His baptism in the Jordan, it immediately drove Him (Mark 1:12) into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil (Matt. 4:1).*
- a mirror in which was reflected the moral attributes peculiar to him, the Word, before manifestation in flesh.
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
To speculate upon the lawfulness of compliance is partly to give consent.
There must be no reasoning upon the harmlessness of conforming to the world.
Elpis Israel 1.2.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
"Being forty days tempted of the devil" Lk 4: 2
If his own mind was originating the temptation - why not so during the forty days! 'And WHEN the tempter CAME TO HIM, he SAID' (Matt 4:3)
Tempted of the devil (diabolos). He felt the full force of the cravings of the flesh
"Jesus groaned within himself, and was troubled." (Jhn 11:33)
The Spirit led Him there that He might be put to the proof; but not to tempt Him; for, says the apostle,
"let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (James 1:13).
God, then, did not tempt Jesus; though His Spirit conducted Him thither to be tempted, and that, too, "by the devil," or the enemy.
This enemy within the human nature is the mind of the flesh, which is enmity against God; it is not subject to His law, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:7). The commandment of God, which is "holy, just and good," being so restrictive of the propensities, which in purely animal men display themselves with uncontrolled violence, makes them appear in their true colours. These turbulent propensities the apostle styles "sin in the flesh," of which it is full; hence, he also terms it "sinful flesh."
This is human nature; and the evil in it, made so apparent by the law of God, he personifies as "pre-eminently A SINNER, (Rom. 7:12, 13, 17, 18). This is the accuser, adversary, and calumniator of God, whose strong hold is the flesh. It is the devil and Satan within the human nature; so that
"when a man is tempted, he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
If a man examine himself, he will perceive within him something at work, craving after things which the law of God forbids. The best of men are conscious of this enemy within them. It troubled the apostle so much that he exclaimed,
"O, wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death," (ver. 24)
or this mortal body? He thanked God that the Lord Jesus Christ would do it; that is, as He had Himself been delivered from it, by God raising Him from the dead by His Spirit (Rom. 8:11).
Human nature, or "sinful flesh," has three principal channels through which it displays its waywardness against the law of God. These are expressed by "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." All that is in the world stands related to these points of our nature; and there is no temptation that can be devised, but what assails it in one, or more, of these three particulars.
The world without is the seducer, which finds in all animal men, unsubdued by the law and testimony of God, a sympathizing and friendly principle, ready at all times to eat of its forbidden fruit. This sinful nature we inherit. It is our misfortune, not our crime, that we possess it. We are only blameworthy when, being supplied with the power of subduing it, we permit it to reign over us.
This power resides in "the testimony of God" believed; so that we "are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation" (1 Peter 1-5). This testimony ought to dwell in us as it dwelt in the Lord Jesus; so that, as with the shield of faith, the fiery assaults of the world may be quenched (Ephes. 6:16) by a "thus it is written," and a "thus saith the Lord."*
Elpis Israel 1.3.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
Jesus was prepared by the exhaustion of a long fast, for an appeal to the desire of His flesh for food. Hunger, it is said, will break through stone walls. "He was hungry."*
This [Sin's Flesh] was subjected to the long abstinence of forty days, at the end of which he felt a hunger that must have been very keen. We all know what would be the promptings of our flesh in a like it situation. "Hunger," it is said, "will break through stone walls." It is very obstreperous, and will do any thing to satisfy itself. If any one had the power, under the pressure of intense hunger, he would convert stones into bread and eat them. **
3 And when the tempter CAME TO HIM, he SAID (with serpent reasoning), If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
An agent provocateur
The form of Christ's tempter in the desert is not revealed any more than the identity of Job's Satan, and to contend strenuously for a particular view is unnecessary where the fact of the temptation is admitted. The statement that Christ was tempted it all points like as we are does not prove that the tempter was not external and personal. We have external and personal tempters as well as internal susceptibilities.
The latter indeed cannot be thoroughly put to the test without the former. We may be tempted by our feelings, doubtless, but never so powerfully as when those feelings are appealed to by a second person.
Your argument lowers Christ to too low a plane. The same nature he truly was, but you must remember there are many varieties and conditions of our common nature-from the untutored savage of the common felon to the balanced mentality of refinement and culture.
Human nature in the hand of God was a form not known to men. We must not give Christ the lowest but the very highest place. He was the work of God for righteousness, and therefore immeasurably above "mere men," though tempted in all points like them
The Christadelphian, Nov 1886 p614.
Jesus was tempted by both the Diabolos and a Satan. These were both concerned in the trial to which he was subjected; and as the one co-operated with the other, they are spoken of as if the same. ** - Luke 4: 8.
At this crisis, "the tempter came to Him." Who he was does not appear. Perhaps Paul refers to him, saying, "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light " (2 Cor. 11:14). Some one came to Him who was His adversary, and who desired His ruin; or, at least, acted the part of one on the same principle that the adversary was permitted to put the fidelity of Job to the proof.
The trial of this eminent son of God was perhaps recorded as an illustration of the temptation of the Son of God, even Jesus, to whom
"there was none like in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feared God, and eschewed evil " (Job 1:8).
From His birth to His baptism in the Jordan, He was faultless.
But in the words of Satan concerning Job, "did Jesus fear God for nought? Had not God made a hedge about Him?" Yes; God was His defence; and "in keeping His testimony there is great reward." But the adversary calumniated Jesus, in suggesting that His obedience to God had been prompted by mercenary motives. He "feared " (Heb. 5:7), not simply for what He should get, but because of His love for His Father's character as revealed in the divine testimonies.
The adversary affected to disbelieve this; and to suppose that, if God would just leave him in the position of any other man, He would distrust Him and eat of the world's forbidden fruit, by embracing all it would afford him.
Thus, the adversary may be supposed to have moved the Lord to permit him to put the fidelity of Jesus to the test. God, therefore, allowed the experiment to be tried; and by His Spirit sent Him into the wilderness for the purpose. So the adversary went forth from the presence of the Lord, and came to Him there.*
Considering the type of Job - the satan tempted Job. Perhaps the satan in the Lord's case was an eminent person of the era, supported by a delegation, among whom were are others well versed in Moses and the prophets - but after the traditions of men. Job's three friends added to the trial by their insinuations and provocations.
Jesus had that power; and there was one acquainted with the Scripture, introduced himself to his notice at this crisis, and suggested that he should use it. Paul doubtless alludes to this personage in 2 Cor. 11: 14 saying,
"the Satan is transformed into an Angel of Light."
Such an angel is a messenger enlightened in the word, who handles it in such a way as to test the fidelity of others to it. Such an one becomes a Satan in suggesting a course of action in conformity with the promptings of the flesh. And if Deity became Satan to Israel, and to Job, it is not to be denied that an angel may have assumed the same attitude in the case of Jesus Christ.**
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Having arrived at the crisis when Jesus was suffering from the keenest hunger, the adversary assumed the character of an angel, or messenger of light to Him. Being acquainted with "the law and the testimony," for which he knew Jesus had a profound regard, he adduced it in support of His suggestions. He invited Him to gratify the cravings of the flesh by helping Himself.
He was God's Son; but then His Father seemed to have abandoned Him; why not therefore use the power He possessed, whose presence in Him was of itself a proof of God's approval of its exercise, and "command that the stones be made bread?" But Jesus disregarded the reasoning; and set it aside by (Deut. 8:3)*
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
"And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain". Matt 5:41
Jesus fortified Himself by the word, the adversary determined to be even with Him; and in appealing to the pride of life, so strong in the nature laid upon Him, to strengthen himself with the testimony likewise.*
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psa. 91:11, 12)
"If thou be the Son of God" as Thou proudly assumest to be*
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Deut. 6:16).
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
From this position, by the power granted him, he showed Jesus "all the kingdoms of the world," visible from that elevation, "and the glory of them." He knew that Jesus was destined to possess them all, but that He was also to obtain them through suffering. Jesus knew this, too.*
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Now, as the flesh dislikes suffering, the tempter proposed to gratify the desire of His eyes by giving Him all He saw on the easy condition of doing homage to him as the god of the world.*
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
"All this power," said he, "will I give Thee and the glory of them; for that is delivered to me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou, therefore, will worship me, all shall be thine" (Luke 4:6, 7). But Jesus resisted the enticement; and said, "Get thee hence adversary..."*
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
"Having ended all the temptation he departed from Him for a season." "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee."
In this manner, then, was He put to the proof in all things according to the likeness of His nature to ours, but without transgression. He believed not this angel of light (Gal. 1:8), and power, and would have none of his favours. He preferred the grace of God with suffering, to the gratification of His flesh with all the pomp and pageantry of this vain and transitory world. Its "glory" is indeed delivered to the adversary of God, His people, and His truth; and to whomsoever he wills he gives it. **Elpis Israel 1.3.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
To all suggestions and arguments in support of the idea of Christ being now a king, and the "Church his kingdom," it is a sufficient answer that a king is one whose law is compulsory, and not left to the good will of his subjects; and a kingdom an area in which that law is enforced.
The law of Christ at present is for those who choose to obey; and as for the ecclesia, it is a mere aggregation of candidates for his favour, developed by invitation to "whosoever will."
To call such a state of things a kingdom, and the absent, non-interfering Christ a reigning king, is to play with words.
Worse, it is to hide the truth, and foster ecclesiastical tyranny. The pamphlet is unworthy of serious attention.
The Christadelphian, March 1898
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
Tough and strong men - used to physical adversity
How came it that illiterate men moved the world?
Illiterate men could never have done that in the capacity of illiterate men merely. There must have been a cause in operation with their illiterateness, to have produced so great a revolution as that which resulted from their efforts. The New Testament account reveals this cause, and gives the only rational explanation of their movement. They were personal witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. They declared their personal knowledge, and
"God worked with them, confirming their word with signs following" (Mark 16:20).
This accounts for their perseverance, and their ultimate success. Take away this element, and you take away the explanation of a great historic fact that no man can gainsay.
Bro Roberts - Was Jesus of Nazareth The Messiah?
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
He had seen them before. They had, in fact, accompanied him from the place of the Baptist's labours on the banks of the Jordan, on his journey through Samaria into Galilee, and had become believers in his Messiahship under the circumstances already narrated; and in that sense, disciples, or learners. But Jesus had not till now invited them to close association in his own work.
They were now prepared to receive such an invitation. All that had gone before, had thoroughly persuaded them that Jesus was the Christ. Hearing him, therefore, now say to them from the shore, as they were in the act of casting a net for the catching of fish (for they were fishermen)
"Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men,"
it was natural that they should, without hesitation, comply with his command.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 16
Preaching true doctrine is a part, but only a part of this service; it largely includes righteous and benevolent deeds performed in the glory of Him from whom comes all power to perform deeds of any kind, and to whom, therefore, all glory belongs.
Bro Roberts - God a sun and shield