Satan will tempt you. His temptations will
always take one of three forms:
1) An appeal to physical desire
2) An appeal to pride
3) An appeal to a desire for power
Satan used these three tactics in the
Garden, in the desert (below), on the cross, and throughout Jesus’ earthly
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the
wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days
and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to
Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the
mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city,
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 shall give His angels charge over you,’
‘ In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You
shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly
high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall
down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan!
For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels
came and ministered to Him.
In the desert, the evil one first tempts Jesus with food. After 40 days and
40 nights, Jesus was hungry. Satan appealed to His greatest physical
Next, he appealed to Jesus’ pride. Jesus
was to humble Himself to the point death on the cross. If Jesus had jumped
off of the temple mount, much of Jerusalem would have seen it. Had He jumped
down safely, He would have been immediately revealed Himself as the Son of
Satan appealed to Jesus’ pride,
tempting Him to reveal Himself as the Son of God according to his will
instead of the Fathers.
Finally, Satan offered Jesus power.
He did this by offering Him rule over the kingdoms of the world.
Jesus had a mission that needed to end on
the cross. Satan tried to alter Jesus’ path by offering three tempting
Satan will tempt you in one of three ways:
i) physical desire, ii) pride and iii) power.
Many people conquer their physical
desires, and then fall to pride. Many conquer their physical desire & pride,
but then fall to the lure of power.
The more you learn to recognize the
temptations/attacks, the more successful you will be in overcoming them.
Last week we examined the three tactics the
evil one uses against us. They are: an appeal to our
and a desire for
The Lord gives us the appropriate response
strategy for each tactic:
38 "You have heard that
it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
39But I say to you, Do
not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
turn to him the other also.
40And if anyone would sue
you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41And if anyone forces
you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who
begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
First notice in vs. 39 Jesus refers to ‘the
one who is evil’. He is speaking of Satan (the evil one). The wisdom of the
time was an ‘eye for an eye’. An ‘eye for an eye’ results in falling to the
evil ones temptation. The correct strategy is to ‘not resist the evil one’.
This may seem like an illogical tactic,
however the Lord explains this tactic with some examples:
If anyone slaps your cheek, turn to him
What is a slap? A slap is a physical attack,
but its primary purpose is not physical harm. A slap is really a sign of
disrespect. It is an attack on ones pride.
The evil one will appeal to your pride. If
you retaliate against an attack on your pride, you are in fact falling to
that attack. You fall to pride. To defeat this attack, you must deny your
pride. When someone attacks your pride, show them it doesn’t bother you.
Turn your other cheek.
If anyone takes your tunic, let him
have your cloak
Clothing is a physical item. If we
retaliate we fall to the temptation of physical desire.
A tunic is an under garment (like underwear).
A cloak is worn over the tunic. By taking a tunic (hidden by the cloak),
the evil one is concealing his attack.
If you retaliate, your actions will be seen.
You will look like the at fault party. The original attack remains
By offering your cloak, you are exposing the
fact that he took your tunic. You are exposing the evil ones attack. Satan
does not like it when his attacks are revealed. Exposing the attack greatly
diminishes his effectiveness.
If anyone forces you one mile, go with
Note the word ‘force’. This is an appeal to
the desire for power. By opposing someone's force, you are tricked
into exerting your own force. You are falling to the temptation of power.
By willingly going two miles, you resist the
temptation of power.
The evil one will attempt to knock you off
your path by tempting you in one of three ways: a physical temptation, and
appeal to your pride, and appeal to power.
Do not resist the evil one. Do not fall
to his hidden temptations. Expose him!
In the last two studies we looked at Satan’s
tactics for temptation. He always uses one of these three tactics to tempt
you off of your path: an appeal to our
and a desire for
When Jesus started His earthly ministry,
He was immediately led to the desert by the Spirit. There, the evil one used
these three tactics to lure Jesus off His path. We saw this in the first
study on this topic (Part I).
Now we will jump to the end of Jesus’
ministry, where the evil one again tempts Him with these three tactics:
33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha,
which means Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him wine to drink mixed with
gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.
35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided
up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they
began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And above His head they put up the
charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
38 At that time two robbers
were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those
passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying,
“You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save
Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the
same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were
mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is
the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will
believe in Him.
First, Jesus is offered wine mixed with
gall. Jesus was in a tremendous amount of pain. He had been beaten and
forced to wear a crown of thorns. In the desert temptation, Jesus was
offered the food he physically craved. Here He was offered relief from pain.
Gall was a type of anesthetic, meant to reduce physical
Then the crowd appealed to His
They mocked Him and put a sign above His head. They said to Him ‘If You are
the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ An exact parallel to Satan’s
tempting in the desert ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down’. The
crowd asked Him to prove Himself in an appealed to His pride.
Lastly, the evil ones final attempt: An
offer of power.
“Let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him”. By
offering to believe Him, The Chief priest offered Him the Throne of Israel
if He came down. In this final temptation Satan appealed to a desire for
power, just as he did in desert.
Matthew highlights the evil ones tactics (physical
desire, pride, and power)
both at the start of Jesus’ ministry (in the desert), and the end (on the
The evil one constantly uses these three
tactics against you. The more you learn to recognize these attacks, the less
effective they become.
This will be the final study (for
now) on the evil ones tactics. We have been examining how the evil one uses
our physical desire, our pride and our desire for power to tempt us off of
We showed how Satan used these three
tactics against Jesus at the start of His earthly ministry in the desert,
and then again at the end of His ministry on the cross. The evil one used
these tactics throughout Jesus' ministry as well.
Here are some more examples:
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see
a sign from You.” 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil
and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be
given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as
JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so
will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the
Jesus often referred to the
Pharisees and Sadducees as a ‘brood of vipers’ (12:34). A brood is a term
meaning offspring. A viper is a snake. Jesus was calling the Pharisees and
Sadducees 'children of snakes', further so, 'children of the evil one'.
Children do what their fathers do.
The evil one tempted Jesus with pride in the desert and on the cross. In the
above passage the Pharisees and Sadducees also tempt Jesus with pride.
Jesus had already performed many
signs and miracles. He healed the sick, cast out demons and even raised the
dead. There was already plenty of evidence that Jesus was indeed the
Messiah. The Pharisees and Sadducees knew this evidence revealed Him as
Messiah. They were not truly confused about His identity. The Messiah was a
threat to them. Their position as religious leaders were threaten. Their
pride, power and wealth were threatened.
If they could get Jesus to sin (fall
to His pride), they could eliminate this threat.
When they asked Jesus for a sign,
they were purposefully doing the exact same thing their father (the evil
one) did in the desert (If You are the Son of God,
throw Yourself down. Matt 4:5). They tried to get Jesus (the Messiah
and God) to sin.
Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show
them a sign from heaven. 2 But He replied to them, “When it is
evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’
3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky
is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the
sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? 4 An evil
and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given
it, except the sign of Jonah.”
Here again, the Pharisees and
Sadducees tempt Jesus with pride. If you recall from the study discussing
how to respond to the evil ones attacks, the proper response to an attack on
pride is to turn the other cheek.
In both of these examples, Jesus
replies that they will receive the sign of Jonah. This is a reference to the
crucifixion. In both these instances Jesus resists the attack on His pride
and indicates that His response will be to humble Himself to the point where
He lets them kill Him.
The Pharisees attack His pride (they slap His
right cheek), He responds by letting them crucify Him (He turns His left