Tempted in Every Way

Sometimes it seems like the temptations around us are so insurmountable that the only reasonable thing to do is to succumb to them. God understands what we’re going through, right? Yes, yes He does. In fact, Jesus has been tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin. Don’t believe me? Here’s the verse:

Hebrews 4:15
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

But Jesus didn’t carry around the Internet in His pocket! How can the Bible claim that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are? Simply put, it is because there are three categories of sin, and all of the Ten Commandments fit into these categories. There may be overlap here, so don’t get all confronty by saying that I don’t have a neat and tidy chart or something. There are three categories spelled out for us by the Apostle John and these categories have been here from the start.

Which begs the question. Why not just have three commandments? Perhaps because we are dullards and need to have things spelled out for us to a degree. Not the degree that the Pharisees went to, which would place them into the pride of life territory, but to the degree that God determined. And where am I getting that pride of life?

1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

These are the three categories. This is not some foreign idea, by the way. The Law handed down to Moses had three categories as well. The Moral Law, which continues today, the Civil Law, that applied to National Israel until AD 70 and the Ceremonial Law which was consummated in Jesus, and was followed after His sacrifice in violation of the provision of God. This is the same Ceremonial Law that certain worthless theologians today want to see re-instituted in the current nation state of Israel. Red Heifer, anyone?

Enough about the antichrist concepts that reject the Messiah who has already come to carry our burdens and to crush the head of the serpent, even as his heel was bruised. This post is about the three categories of sin, and how this Anointed One is familiar with each. Here’s the passage that demonstrates it. I won’t annotate it, but look for the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and also for pride of life.

Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’


“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall 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 glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

The first temptation was to turn stones into bread. In a vacuum, that doesn’t seem so bad. Jesus had the ability to do so and he did have a physical need for food. What’s the problem? Jesus recognized the premise of the temptation. It was the desire of the flesh. It was to take matters into His own hands rather than to remain faithful to the Sermon on the Mount that He gave shortly after this temptation. “Give us this Day our Daily Bread” is in that sermon, showing a reliance on God for your needs. Also in there is the promise that when you fast to not show your hunger to others so that your Father in Heaven will reward you.

The next temptation was to throw Himself from a great height because the angels would not allow Him to be injured. Sounds like the pride of life to me. This would be a spectacle like Evel Knievel jumping a motorcycle over Snake Canyon. Jesus would forever be famous! But He would be famous for doing something contrary to the will of the Father. A stuntman will one day fade into obscurity. Harry Houdini is still known, but his memory is fading. Who was that first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel? I don’t care enough to look it up. But the fame of Jesus has only grown because He was faithful unto death and was raised on the third day.

The final temptation was for Jesus to worship Satan and all of the kingdoms of the world would be His. He would be preeminent in a similar way Joseph was over all of Egypt, answering only to Pharaoh. He was shown all of the magnificence of the world and it was all waiting for Him! The lust of the eyes. The mission of Jesus was to atone for the sins of the world and to embark on a mission with His church to one day finalize the reclamation all of the nations that had been scattered at the Tower of Babel. The method would be His sacrifice. The temptation was to take an alternate path to that same end. The difference would be that Jesus would now be a servant of Satan instead of His Father. The original temptation, “You will be like God,” echoes in this temptation, for Satan wanted to assume that role.

Which leads into the historical nature of these three categories. I’ll close with Genesis 3:1-7

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 

That isn’t what God said. He merely said not to eat of that tree. He wanted to be the source of their knowledge, rather than them going off and producing their own definitions apart from Him. It seems plausible to me that Adam relayed the instructions to Eve along with his own guide rails and that is what she was repeating.

4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 

Sure sounds like the pride of life to me. Sin against God and you will become like Him, taking His place!

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

There’s that desire of the eyes, and I don’t even need to point it out. The desire of flesh goes with the desire to be made wise as well as the desire to hide their nakedness, both also apart from God. And let’s not leave out the fact that Adam was standing right there! It was his responsibility to defend his wife and the garden that had been placed into his care from this liar who had ignored him and gone directly to the woman standing next to him.

All three types of temptation had been set against our first parents and they failed them miserably. But God did not leave them in their sin. He clothed them and sent them out of the garden, for had they stayed and eaten of the Tree of Life they would have never had any end of their sin. It would have compounded forever, which is part of what it means to be in Hell. Forever sinning without any improvement, only heaping condemnation and misery upon yourself.

As the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, all of these temptations were also failed repeatedly. When Jesus endured forty days in the wilderness, followed by His three temptations, He passed the test on behalf of all who would place their faith in the One whose heel was bruised even as He crushed the head of that serpent. Jesus was tempted in every way, and was without sin. He did this for the joy set before Him, and our joy may be complete as we remember His victory in our times of weakness.

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Published by CoffeeSwirls