He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him,
“If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But he answered,
“It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him,
“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him,
“Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him,
“All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him,
“Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”
Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
We usually associate temptation with sin, for example, breaking the rules or breaking God’s commandment. And that’s what temptation is. Temptation is what makes you sin. But as you read today’s scripture passage somehow it has anything to do with sin, turning stones into loaves of bread and jumping off from the pinnacle of the temple. How are they sin? I don’t see obvious sin then. So I realized that there is a deeper dimension about temptation is not just what you see on the surface. So I like to reflect with you on those three temptations stories and then see the implication of it and maybe hopefully how we overcome our temptation.
Making a Living and Needs
The first temptation was about turning stones into loaves of bread. What does this reveal about temptation? Turning stones into loaves of bread? I think it is to do with survival. I think is to do with making a living. It’s not just about making bread. It’s about making a living. Satan told Jesus to tell these stones to become loaves of bread. I realized that making living is a very big part of our lives. We all make living. We work hard. You go to school, you get a job and you make a living, isn’t it? Is that not why you go to school? And then you build your career to make a living. That’s very important. So all of you, all of us really work hard and I see our people working really hard at their work. And then our Hi-C students study very hard to get into good university and then a to get a good job and to make a good living. That’s our responsibility because it’s very important. But don’t you realize that since it is so important, it becomes temptation? Because it is so important, it becomes temptation. If it is not important, it doesn’t become temptation, but since it is so important, it becomes temptation. We become obsessed with it and forget about everything else, but I want to tell you, making a living is important, but life is not just about making a living. I’m not saying that making a living is not important, but life is more than just making a living. I hope that you realize that life is more than making a living.
My friends since it is so important, don’t you think that we have to leave it in God’s hands instead of taking charge since it’s so important? Actually, God will take care of our basic needs. Jesus told us to pray like this. Give us this day, our daily bread. And Jesus also taught us this lesson. Seek, strive first for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. If you strive for the Kingdom of God and righteousness, everything else will be added unto you. You don’t need to worry about it. As we trust that God will take care of our needs, then your eyes open and you can start seeing that life is more than just making a living. That’s when life opens up. That’s when life opens up for you. That’s when you find treasure in life. Why do you think Peter left all his fish to follow Jesus even when he caught much fish? Because he found treasure in life. So as you leave all your basic needs to God that’s when you see there’s something more beautiful about life than making a good living. Work hard, but find the treasure in life. If you don’t find that treasure in life, then you are in temptation. If you think life is all about making a living, then you’re in temptation, but once you leave all your basic needs in God’s hands, then you can see, life is much more than just making a living. That’s the first temptation and how to overcome temptation. Don’t worry about when you will eat, what should you wear. Don’t worry about it. Doesn’t God know how to feed you? Just leave it in God’s hands and then you’ll be fine. You’ll be able to see what’s important in life.
Security and Protection
The second temptation was like this. Satan took Jesus to the top of the temple and told Him, if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down for it is written. He will command His angels concerning you and on their hands. They will bear you up so that you will not dash your foot against stone. So what kind of temptation is that? It was the temptation of planting seeds of doubt in Jesus’ mind. If Satan didn’t say that, Jesus would not even think about it. It is like telling someone during golf to be careful of the water. After you tell them, they will always be thinking “oh, the water is that way. I have to be careful or the ball will go into the water.” Satan was testing Jesus whether God will protect him or not. Protection is just as important as survival, as important as making living, which we talked about in the first temptation.
We can never protect ourselves 100 percent of the time. That is the truth. That’s the reality. We can never protect ourselves 100 percent of the time, even if you increase the military budget or have security all the time. We can never protect ourselves 100 percent of the time. Last Tuesday, I was all by myself in this building and then there was a guy who then came to this building in a pickup truck and he rang the bell but we don’t even have a bell. He came to the door, but the door was locked. He was about to go and I thought he was here to fix our church. So I ran out and opened the door. And as I called him, he came to me and as soon as I saw his face, I thought, “I’m in trouble.” This guy looks so disturbed. He was half crying and all that. And then he told me, “I need help.” “What can I do for you?” And he, he was saying, “FBI is following me, the police tapped into my phone,” and many other scenarios. I mean he’s saying all of that but just last week I talked about welcoming the stranger on Sundays so I just can’t just kick him out, but to bring him in is too dangerous. I was scared so I went, “okay, come and follow me.” So I went to 102, there was Simon and Reverend Chung, at least they’re bigger than me and also “if I’m going to die, I’ll die with you.”
So we sat down together and then we listened to him for about 30 minutes and he was going on, he was crying and he was banging the desk. He was angry about his problems, and we’re just listening for 30 minutes. In the end, Simon gave Joe’s hospital address and said, “you can go there.” He was so thankful. After 30 minutes, he said, “you know, nobody really listened to me with without judgment. You guys were so good, you listened to me for 30 minutes and all that,” and later he left. But what if he came with the intention to harm me? Luckily he didn’t come to harm me, but if he came with the intention to harm me, I would not be able to protect myself. We cannot protect ourselves with 100 percent certainty. Just last month 2 KSM families were robbed. Their house was totally robbed. They waited for about two weeks and when they saw an opportunity, they went in and out and timed it perfectly. Both took place in North York. So those who live in North York, be careful. We cannot protect ourselves from a disease. We cannot protect ourselves from disaster. We cannot protect ourselves from evil.
We have to leave our protection in God’s hands. We have to trust, that God will protect. As we sang a moment ago, God will not let us down. God will protect us. Jesus taught us to pray like this, deliver us from evil. Same as protect us from evil. There’s a passage that I like from Psalm 121.
I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.
How beautiful. The Lord will keep you. The Lord will protect you. Don’t test God. Just trust God. God will protect you from your heart. Not only will he take care of your basic needs, God will keep your going out and coming in from this time on and forevermore. There’s nothing for you to worry about your future. God will be with you. You have big things ahead of you, whether it’s wedding or a job, whatever. Don’t worry. God will protect you. Don’t ever doubt that. That is how you overcome your temptation.
Worship and Life
The third temptation, Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor and said, “all these I’ll give you if you will fall down and worship me.” This is a temptation of who or what we worship. You know our life becomes what we worship and we become what we worship. We won’t worship anything else but God and God alone. That’s who we are. We won’t worship anything else but God and God alone. When likes changed my life for the whole world, for the splendor of this world, I won’t. Jesus said, “For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?” It is God who gave me life. Not only this life but eternal life. In every conscious moment of our life, we will worship God, nothing else. Even when you’re unconscious, then your soul will worship God. Then your life will come alive. Joy will come alive. Hope will come alive. You will sing and dance with joy. That’s what life is. Life is not just about making. Living. Life is not just about protection. Life is not just about having the splendor of this world. Life is to sing and dance with joy. That’s what life is. Life is about having every moment of your life coming alive. God will make your life rich and meaningful. One life we live, right? I hope that you don’t waste your life because of temptation. Always worry about it, and that it will suck the life out of you. I hope that you get out of temptation and live life fully. Don’t waste the precious life you have. Open your eyes. Come out of temptation and live your life.