The Life & Work of Christ: The Inauguration Period

The Life & Work of Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Last week we saw an early period of Jesus’ life known as the Period of Preparation. Today we will explore a very vital point of his life known as the Inauguration Period. Inauguration means the beginning of something. It is called the Inauguration period because these events mark the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry on earth. It is from this period that I will encourage everyone how we can defeat the temptations of satan in our lives. Most importantly when he makes every effort to deter us from the work and ministry that GOD has purposed for his saints on earth. I’m going to give a brief summary of Jesus’ baptism and then put a greater emphasis on his temptation that immediately follows.

Jesus’ Unique Baptism

I’m going to give a brief summary of Jesus’ baptism and then put a greater emphasis on his temptation that immediately follows.
John the Baptist, who is Jesus’ relative, had begun his public ministry already and his ministry was intended to prepare for Jesus’ ministry. His message is clear that “the kingdom of GOD is near, therefore repent and be baptized for repentance. However, know that there is one in our midst who is greater than me because he existed before me and he will baptize with the Holy Spirit.” Then one day Jesus arrives to be baptized by John, and he’s a little reluctant knowing that he needs Jesus to baptize him. We need to know that Jesus’ baptism is very different from the baptism you and I receive, yet there are two similarities. The first thing we need to understand is that John’s baptism was for repentance of sins, but Jesus had no sins to repent of. So what are the differences and similarities:
Uniqueness of Jesus’ baptism
John’s baptism was one of repentance: Jesus had nothing to repent of
To fulfill all righteousness: To fully align with the purposes of GOD
To manifest who the Messiah is to Israel
To manifest who will have authority and power to baptize with the Holy Spirit
To manifest that Jesus is the Son of GOD
Similarities of Jesus’ and ours
Baptism is in water
Receive the Holy Spirit
After Jesus is baptized, he is immediately led by the Spirit of GOD to be tempted by the adversary, who is satan. Surely satan also hears GOD’s voice from heaven that declares that this man is his son. I believe that satan begins requesting from GOD to tempt him to sin against him, no more than he did Job; and like he does all of GOD’s children today. Satan’s intentions of tempting him (and all of us) is to find our his nature, and urge him to sin and disobey GOD. This may be a familiar passage to many of us, but it is a vital reminder of satan’s tactics against us but how we can defeat him. The question is do we take it serious so that we implement it. Jesus doesn’t use one divine skill or ability in this temptation. He uses his human mind to counter satan, and therefore he demonstrates that the same possibility exists for us to counter satan’s attempts.

Jesus Defeats Lusts of Flesh

The first temptation is seen in verses 2-4. Jesus has been fasting for 40 days and nights while primarily living in the wilderness and going to other places that satan wanted to deter his Messianic mission. He became hungry! Matthew is emphasizing the height of Jesus hunger during this time. Satan knows this and approaches him with an offer for his hunger. But he prefaces it with “If you are the Son of GOD”. Which shows the angle that satan has to attack who he is. His offer “command that these stones become bread”. There would have been nothing wrong with Jesus doing this miracle in a context isolated from satan. But satan is essentially tempting Jesus to selfishly and miraculously make food for himself. This temptation is one of satan’s old tricks to move humans off of “the lust of the flesh”. The desire that he’s attacking is pleasure for the flesh.
Application: Satan knows when you and I need or want something to satisfy our fleshly desires. Thus satan will attack us with temptation, but his purpose is to always move us to do or live contrary to GOD’s righteousness. Theft, fornication, spitefulness, etc. Here he is dealing with something subtle as stomach hunger, but we all know that there are a endless list of things that can satisfy us to make us feel good!
Jesus counters and responds to satan from , which confirms that GOD is the source of life, not bread alone. Bread or food is important to sustain the body, but it is not the on/off switch for life, but the comprehensive and unified word of GOD is!
Application: First we need to continuously identify the scripture that applies to the temptation that satan offers us. Then we must respond that it is written. When we say it is written, we are affirming our belief and dependence in what’s written and that it is the word of GOD himself. But we can’t stop at mentally and/or verbally stating what’s written. What’s written means nothing if it is only recited and not obeyed. Again, satan is not solely challenging Jesus’ knowledge! Jesus’ hunger is a reality. Thus satan is primarily attacking his nature to find out how he will respond. He probing for his action! That’s the same thing he does to us!

Jesus Defeats Pride of Life

The second temptation is seen in verse 5-7. This time satan brings Jesus to Jerusalem and has him standing on one of the high points, perhaps one of the high walls. He the switches his method and quotes scripture. This is interesting because Jesus just made reference to scripture, particularly that life is sustained by the power of GOD’s word. So satan uses that as a platform to tempt Jesus to jump from this high point, and trust that GOD will save him by his angels, quoting . First of all, the context of refers to the danger that another brings, not that one enters him- or herself. Secondly, GOD was not commanding in that text that one should pridefully create a dangerous circumstance that did not previously exist! So satan is tempting Jesus to selfishly take pride in who he was and the protection GOD would give.
Application: It is prideful to create or instigate or promote a dangerous situation unwarranted. Indeed, there are ministries and activities that GOD expects from us that might involve danger from others, and in those situations GOD will provide and secure us in his safety. So let us not ever neglect to do what GOD says because it involves risk of danger. However it is prideful to initiate trouble unwarranted (not justified or authorized) because of our claim of trust in GOD’s protection. Lamech, who was the great-great-great-great grandson of Cain had the same type of pride. Saying to his wives that if Cain was avenged 7-fold, then he would be avenged 77-fold killing a man and a boy for wounding and striking him. Satan wants every human to think highly of themselves, better than the next, more deserving than the next, etc.
Jesus’ responds again with scripture. This time he says “on the other hand” or “again” (in some versions) before quoting the scripture, which means he corrects satan’s misinterpretation and misapplication of the scripture, and demonstrates how GOD’s word must be treated holistically. He then quotes , which represents when Israel tested or challenged GOD saying “is the Lord among us” when they were thirsty for water.
Application: Pride in ourselves is a challenge against GOD. Because pride always says to GOD “do to and for me what my will is over your will”. It says that my desire and purpose is better and greater than what GOD’s will and purpose is. Therefore we must respond and behave like Jesus did with scripture. That says we shouldn’t challenge or test GOD to prove himself, his power, and his protection.

Jesus Defeats Lusts of Eyes

The third and last temptation is seen in verses 8-11. Satan now reveals his grander purpose behind tempting Jesus in the flesh. He brings him to a high very high mountain and shows him all of the kingdoms and their beauty and fashion. Then claims power to give all of it to Jesus. He would know that people are looking for a great earthly king in Israel to conquer Rome. But he conditions his gift on Jesus falling down and worshiping him. That’s what he really wants! He doesn’t even mention anything about him being the Son of GOD. He just wants Jesus to denounce his allegiance to GOD and give it to him, by the lust of the eye.
Application: Satan wants our worship! He wants our utmost respect for his deceptive ways. If he tempted Jesus in this way, after it being declared that he is the Son of GOD, then surely satan wants us to worship him too. In this context, he seeks that through the lust of our eyes for having everything in this world. Power, money, respect, possessions, etc.
Jesus again and finally responds with scripture, but this time with a command that satan leave him alone. Giving as a basis that we should only worship and serve GOD only!
Application: Tell satan to leave you alone! Again, this should be coupled with scripture(s) that we know fight against what satan offers us. It is a mistake to think that satan can’t give us access to all the things our eyes lust after and our hearts covet. He will present us with ways to obtain them that disobey GOD, but honor him and his ways. If we truly desire to defeat his temptations, we must lean on scripture in mind and behavior.
We see from this period of Jesus’ life the significance of his baptism, which fulfilled GOD’s righteous purposes and brought a testimony from GOD that Jesus is his son, and it manifested Jesus as the Messiah. But we also see how satan immediately wished to deter him from his Messianic mission to rescue the world, and then the significance of how Jesus defeated every attempt. You too can defeat satan’s attempts through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit.
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