Leader Bible Study
Satan wants to ruin God’s plan. In Genesis 3, he tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God. Sin entered the world, and the perfect relationship between God and man was broken. But all along, God had a plan to rescue His people through His Son. So when Jesus came to earth, Satan didn’t back down. After Jesus was baptized—beginning His ministry and effectively declaring war on Satan—Satan tempted Jesus.
If Satan could just get Jesus to stray from God’s perfect plan—if he could just get Jesus to sin—then Jesus would be disqualified to be the sinless Savior people needed. But Satan could not stop God’s plan.
Jesus’ temptation is not primarily an example to be followed but more a declaration of who Jesus is. He is the answer to God’s promise of a descendant who would crush the head of the snake. (Gen. 3:15) Jesus is the perfect sacrifice required to take away sin. Where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. Adam brought guilt and death to the human race, but Jesus brings forgiveness and life to all who trust in Him.
Even today, the devil works hard “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). Teach kids that the power to resist temptation comes from Jesus. Kids may struggle to understand that following Jesus won’t mean instant eradication of sin and temptation in our lives. (Sanctification is a lifelong process!) Pray that the kids you teach would see Jesus as their greatest treasure—more valuable than any instant gratification the world has to offer.
Finally, give kids hope for when they fail. Jesus’ perfect obedience is credited to those who trust in Him. Remind the kids that “if we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We can boldly approach God’s throne to receive both grace and mercy when we need it. (See Heb. 4:14-16.)
The BIBLE Story
Matthew 4; Mark 1; Luke 4
After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus did not eat for 40 days and 40 nights. He prayed and thought about God’s plan for His life. When those days were over, Jesus was hungry.
Then the devil, who tempts people to sin, came up to Jesus. He said, “If You are really God’s Son, prove it. Tell these stones to become bread.”
If Jesus used His power to turn the stones into bread, He could eat them so He wouldn’t be hungry anymore. But Jesus refused. Instead of using His own power, Jesus chose to trust God to meet His needs. Jesus said, “God’s Word says that man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
The devil tempted Jesus again. He took Jesus to the top of the temple in Jerusalem and said, “If You are really God’s Son, prove it. Jump off this temple and trust God to protect You.”
The devil even said: “God’s Word says that God will order His angels to keep You safe, and they will protect You so that You will not even strike your foot against a stone.”
The devil had used words from Scripture, but Jesus knew the devil’s command was foolish. Jesus reminded him, “God’s Word also says, do not test the Lord your God.”
Finally, the devil took Jesus to a high mountain. He showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and how great they were. The devil said to Jesus, “I will give You all the riches and power of these kingdoms. They belong to me, and I can give them to anyone I want. If You want them, all You have to do is fall down and worship me.”
Jesus resisted temptation again. He replied, “Go away, Satan! God’s Word says: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
The devil left Jesus, and angels came right away to serve Jesus. Throughout all these temptations, Jesus never sinned.
Christ Connection: Jesus was tempted, but He trusted God and never sinned. Jesus is perfect and righteous. A perfect sacrifice was required to take away sin. Jesus was that perfect sacrifice. He died on the cross to free us from sin and to give us the power to say no to temptation.
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