Ms 113, 1902


Ms 113, 1902

Tempted in All Points Like as We Are


September 7, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 87; Ev 58; 7BC 908; CTr 217-218; 17MR 28. +Note

“Tempted in all points like as we are.” [Hebrews 4:15.] Ms113-1902.1

Read carefully the first eleven verses of the fourth chapter of Matthew. It is the story of the battle between Christ and Satan. Christ came to this world as a man, to prove to angels and to men that man may overcome, that in every emergency he may know that the powers of heaven are ready to help him. He took the nature of man, with all its possibilities. We have nothing to endure that He has not endured. Ms113-1902.2

At His baptism the glory of God rested on Him, as a dove of burnished gold. Light from the throne of God encircled Him, while from heaven were heard the words, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:16, 17.] Ms113-1902.3

Then Christ was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and here His test came. He went into the wilderness to be alone, to contemplate His mission and work. By fasting and prayer He was to brace Himself for the bloodstained path He must travel. But Satan knew that the Saviour had gone into the wilderness; and he thought this the best time to approach Him. Ms113-1902.4

Before beginning His public ministry, Christ submitted to the fierce assaults of the enemy, knowing that without conflict there could be no victory. He consented to engage in the contest under any circumstances that the foe might require. “In all things He was made like unto His brethren.” He was “tempted in all points like as we are.” “In that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” [Hebrews 2:17; 4:15; 2:18.] Ms113-1902.5

The duel between Christ and Satan was fought in the wilderness, Christ with apparently not a friend to aid Him. Satan is subtle. Falsehood is his stock in trade. With all the power that he possessed he tried to overcome the humanity of Christ. Could he lead the Saviour to swerve a hair’s breadth from His allegiance to God, the victory would be his. The world would pass under his control. Ms113-1902.6

Satan charmed the first Adam by his sophistry, just as he charms men and women today, leading them to believe a lie. Adam did not reach above his humanity for divine power. He believed the words of Satan. But the second Adam was not to become the enemy’s bondslave. Ms113-1902.7

Adam had the advantage over Christ, in that when he was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of degradation. Ms113-1902.8

Every device that the enemy could suggest was brought against Him. It was when Christ was in a weakened condition, after His long fast of forty days, that the wisest of the fallen angels used the most enticing words at his command in an effort to compel the mind of Christ to yield to his mind. Ms113-1902.9

“If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” [Matthew 4:3.] Here is the insinuation of distrust. In the tones of the tempter’s voice is an expression of utter incredulity. Would God treat His own Son thus? Would He leave Him in the desert with wild beasts, without food, without companions, without comfort? He insinuates that God never meant His Son to be in such a state as this. “If thou be the Son of God,” he said, “show thy power by relieving thyself of this pressing hunger.” “Command that this stone be made bread.” Ms113-1902.10

In His reply, Christ made no reference to the doubt. He was not to prove His divinity to Satan, to explain the reason of His humiliation. “It is written,” He said, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Verse 4.] He met Satan with the words of Scripture. In every temptation the weapon of His warfare was the Word of God. Satan demanded of Christ a miracle as the sign of His divinity. But that which is greater than all miracles, a firm reliance on a “thus saith the Lord,” was a sign that could not be controverted. So long as Christ held this position, the tempter could gain no advantage. Ms113-1902.11

When Christ said to Satan, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” He repeated the words that, more than fourteen hundred years before, He had spoken to Israel: “The Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, ... and He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God doth man live.” [Deuteronomy 8:2, 3.] In the wilderness, when all means of sustenance failed, God sent His people manna from heaven; and a sufficient and constant supply was given. This provision was to teach them that while they trusted in God, and walked in His ways, He would not forsake them. The Saviour now practiced the lesson He had taught to Israel. By the word of God succor had been given to the Hebrew host, and by the same word it would be given to Jesus. He awaited God’s time to bring relief. He was in the wilderness in obedience to God, and He would not obtain food by following the suggestions of Satan. In the presence of the witnessing universe, He testified that it is a less calamity to suffer whatever may befall, than to depart in any manner from the will of God. Ms113-1902.12

“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” [Matthew 4:5, 6.] Ms113-1902.13

When Satan quoted the promise, “He shall give His angels charge over thee,” he omitted the words, “to keep thee in all thy ways;” that is, in all the ways of God’s choosing. [Psalm 91:11.] Jesus refused to go outside the path of obedience. While manifesting perfect trust in His Father, He would not place Himself unbidden in a position that would necessitate the interposition of His Father to save Him from death. He would not force providence to come to His rescue, and thus fail of giving man an example of trust and submission. Ms113-1902.14

Jesus declared to Satan, “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” [Matthew 4:7.] These words were spoken to the children of Israel when they thirsted in the desert and demanded that Moses should give them water, exclaiming, “is the Lord among us, or not?” [Exodus 17:7.] God had wrought marvellously for them, yet in trouble they doubted Him and demanded evidence that He was with them. In their unbelief they sought to put Him to the test. And Satan was urging Christ to do the same thing. God had already testified that Jesus was His Son; and now to ask for proof that He was the Son of God would be putting God’s word to the test—tempting Him. And the same would be true of asking for that which God had not promised. It would be to manifest distrust, and would be really proving or tempting Him. We should not present our petitions to God to prove whether He will fulfil His word, but because He will fulfil it; not to prove that He loves us, but because He loves us. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” [Hebrews 11:6.] Ms113-1902.15

“Again the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” [Matthew 4:8, 9.] Ms113-1902.16

This was Satan’s crowning effort. Into this effort he threw all his beguiling power. It was the charm of the serpent. He exerted the power of his fascination upon Christ, striving to make Him yield His will to him. Ms113-1902.17

In His weakness, Christ laid hold of God. Divinity flashed through humanity. Christ stood revealed as the Commander of heaven, and His words were the words of One who has all power. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” He said; “for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” [Luke 4:8.] Ms113-1902.18

Satan had questioned whether Jesus was the Son of God. In his summary dismissal he had proof that he could not gainsay. He had no power to resist the command. Writhing with humiliation and rage, he was forced to withdraw from the presence of the world’s Redeemer. Christ’s victory was as complete as had been the failure of Adam. Ms113-1902.19

Christ knew of the long years of conflict in the future between man and his subtle foe. He is the refuge of all who, beset by temptation, call upon Him. Temptation and trial will come to us all, but we need never be worsted by the enemy. Our Saviour has conquered in our behalf. Satan is not invincible. Day by day he meets those who are on trial, striving by his wiles to gain the mastery over them. His accusing power is great, and it is in this line that he wins more victories than in any other. Christ was tempted that He might know how to help every soul that should afterward be tempted. Temptation is not sin; the sin lies in yielding. To the soul who trusts is Jesus, temptation means victory and greater strength. Ms113-1902.20

Christ is ready to pardon all who come to Him confessing their sins. To the tried, struggling soul is spoken the word, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] Thank God, we have a high priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, for He was in all points tempted like as we are. Ms113-1902.21