Jesus Is Tempted
By Dr. Carol J Miller
Does anyone know what it means to be “tempted”? [Thank each child for his/her answer].
Yes, tempted means to think about doing something that might not be right or good. If a class is having a spelling test, let’s say, and one of the children did not study the words and isn’t sure how to spell them, what might that child be tempted to do? [Accept all answers].
Have you ever been tempted? Sure, everyone has been tempted. I have been, many times. Let’s see how many in the congregation have been tempted [Ask for a show of hands].
There’s nothing wrong with being tempted. It’s only wrong when you choose to do the wrong thing. If we asked people to raise their hands again, we would see that all of us have done wrong things, probably many times.
Well, in today’s Scripture, the Holy Spirit––that’s another name for God––has sent Jesus out into the desert to think. Jesus needs to think about what he is going to do. He knows that he is special. He knows he has great power. But if he is loyal to God and tells people the truth, some people––some very important people––will be very angry with Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t want that to happen. Nobody likes people to be mad at them. So, Jesus thinks maybe he should just use his power to give everybody food. Then no one will get mad at him and everybody will like him. Jesus thinks of other things he could do to use his power without getting anyone upset. That would sure be easier.
Jesus was out in the desert for 40 days thinking about what he should do. He was tempted to take the easy way––just give people stuff, things like that–and nobody would get angry.
But at the end of those 40 days, Jesus remembered what he had read in the Bible. God is the only one we must listen to. Sometimes God asks us to do the hard thing. For instance, maybe it would be easy to tease another child who isn’t like the rest; just do what the other kids are doing—tease him. But God asks us to do the hard thing: to be that person’s friend when no one else will. If we do, we might get teased too. But God still tells us to be a friend.
How do you think you might feel if you do not listen to God? How would you feel if you were mean to that other kid and later on you thought about what you had done? [Accept all answers].
You might not like yourself very much; you might be ashamed of what you had done. That’s what often happens when we choose the wrong thing to do.
Because Jesus remembered what God had said, Jesus decided not to do the safe thing, the easy thing. Jesus decided to do the hard thing––to tell people God’s words when they did not want to hear, even though he knew there would be trouble ahead for him.
We have 40 days in the season of Lent to think about the things that tempt us, and to listen to what God says to do. It is a time to think about what we have done. It is a time to work hard at not giving in to the things that tempt us. It is an important time for the whole church!
Copyright 2012, Richard Niell Donovan