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Christian Temptation is a question of our identity

Rev Enoch Thompson | JANUARY 13, 2023 | MATTHEW 4:1-11

KEY VERSE: Matthew 4:3 (NIV)

The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."


The Temptation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness was a key event in salvation history. God the creator of Heaven and Earth, was subjected to tests that sought to undermine the integrity of the mission of the salvation of the human race that He had come to undertake. While different forms of the temptation of succeeding generations of Christ-followers are woven into the form of the Temptation of our Lord, we want to focus today on an underlying principle involved in the case of the Lord Jesu Christ, and which principle still lies behind every temptation we face in our times.

The Temptation of the Lord Jesus was principally an attack on the identity of the Lord, and if He would hold on to who He was so that He would be qualified to save humanity. If the Lord Jesus had failed to uphold His identity in the wilderness, then the Second Adam would have sold out to the Devil like the First Adam did, and the rescue mission would have failed right from the onset.

Take note of how Satan attacked the identity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the first temptation: “The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." (4:3 NIV). The temptation here was not necessarily about stones becoming bread. It was about the identity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God (God implied), who did not count life from a frivolous materialistic physical orientation, but from the spirit.

In the second temptation: "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: . . . “ (Matt 4:6 NIV). The temptation here was not necessarily about gymnastic abilities. It was about the identity of Jesus Christ as God who did not need to seek to impress humans by how He keeps His Word.

In the third temptation: “Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. ⁹"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." (Matt 4:8-9 NIV). Here again, the temptation is not about a test of the genuflective skills of the Lord. It was a test of proof of His identity as the God-Man. The creatures of God are meant to bow to Him. If the Lord Jesus had bowed to Satan then He would have enthroned Satan as the de facto God of the universe, and humanity’s enslavement would have been confirmed irrevocably.


Whenever we are tempted to lie, to gossip, to be sexually deviant, to be lazy about our Bible reading and prayer, tempted to be tribalistic, proud etc, remember that our identity as children of God is being called into question.

Will you stand your ground, like the Lord Jesus Christ in the wilderness, and affirm your true identity, by siding with God’s Word about us, that we are no more sinners but saints, beloved children of God, one new humanity in Christ? We are because “it is written” in the Bible.


Dear Father above, forgive me for the times I have forgotten who I am and have allowed the enemy to trap me. May I, like my Saviour. remember and assert whom you have made me through His sacrifice, and win every time my identity is called into question. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!


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