Friday, April 15, 2022

Handout - Matthew Chapter 4:1 - Enticement and Testing

Jesus is about 30 years old (Luk 3:23), and His last interaction with the public was at age 12. The Baptism was His entrance to public ministry identifying Him as Messiah, and anointing Him with the Holy Spirit. The next step was the temptation of Jesus by Satan.

Matthew 4:1 - Enticement and Testing

Following Jesus's anointing He was led by the Holy Spirit to the temptation. Note the similarities between the temptation of Adam and the temptation of Jesus. Adam was tempted in the perfect Garden of Eden, Jesus was tempted by Satan in a fallen world. There are two terms that need to be clarified. That of "enticing" one to sin and that of "testing" one through sin.


Testing means to prove the genuineness or sincerity of someone or something. We are commanded not to test God, or "put Him to the test" (Act 5:9, 1Co 10:9, Mat 16:1, Mat 19:3).


Enticement means to make something sound attractive so as to entice someone into sinning. Scripture has this in mind when when we are warned not to be enticed ourselves when are in a position to restore someone else from their sin (Gal 6:1). This idea of "enticement" is also used to warn spouses from withholding physical intimacy because this lack will cause others to be more enticing (1Co 7:5).

Testing of Faith vs. Enticement to Sin

When we are tested by God, it is intended to demonstrate God's power and calling in us, proving to those watching a high level of spiritual maturity (Jas 1:2-4). People will not be enticed to sin by God. The only purpose of enticement is to tempt one into sinning, and that is not of God (Jas 1:13-15).

What Was Jesus Going Through?

Jesus was lead into the wilderness by the Spirit to be "tempted". Was He Tested, or was He Enticed? Jesus was enticed by Satan, but God would use this to show that Jesus was indeed righteous and trustworthy. What Satan intended as enticement, God used to prove the righteous character of Jesus. Jesus was the pure and spotless Lamb of God who was qualified to by the sacrifice for sin.

The Two-Fold Purpose in Testing Jesus

The first purpose was to demonstrate Jesus's genuine character, and the second purpose was to allow Jesus, as God, to experience the intensity of physical and emotional need. He went through and felt as a true man what His creation feels, and because of that He is able to empathize with us (Heb 4:14-16).

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