This story summary is about the time Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness following His baptism. This might be a familiar story for many parents and teachers, but you may wish to review this summary to see if there’s an emphasis you want to include when you tell the story. You may also find the story truths identified below to be helpful. Activities related to this story can be found here. This summary is also available as a downloadable PDF by clicking here or on the Get Activity button below. You should always seek to adapt the story as needed to make it appropriate for the kids under your care.
Bible Text: Matthew 4:1-11
- Jesus was tempted but never sinned.
- Jesus showed us how to obey God and overcome temptation.
Story: Jesus was about to begin His ministry when God led Him into the wilderness. The time in the wilderness was another way that Jesus set an example of how to follow God. Jesus spent 40 days praying and seeking God. During that time, Jesus would be tempted to go His own way and disobey God.
Jesus fasted for more than 5 weeks. Jesus would have been very hungry, and just when He might have been His weakest, the tempter came. He said, “if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Now, remember, Jesus was God’s Son, but that didn’t mean He could use His power to serve Himself. The devil was poking Jesus in His very real physical need. But Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Satan tried again by taking Jesus to the top of the temple. Satan said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” This time, the devil used God’s own words to tempt Jesus, but Jesus wasn’t tricked. Jesus said, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Finally, the devil tempted Jesus by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. The devil said, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” But Jesus said, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left Jesus and angels came to minister to him. Jesus won!
The temptation of Jesus teaches us many things about temptation. Jesus knew God’s Word, and He wasn’t fooled into using God’s Word to serve Himself. Jesus also knew that He had to obey God, and that meant He had to set aside His own will, His own hunger, His own desires, and even His own life to do what God said to do. Obeying is hard and all of us will struggle to obey God when we want our own way. Our sin is why Jesus had to come into the world. Jesus obeyed, and by following Him and seeking to be more like Him, we can know forgiveness for our sin and learn to enjoy God’s love.
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