When we think of temptations we tend to think only the big sins matter, bur Satan knows Christians have a certain moral resolve. Sins of murder, stealing, and adultery are not really temptations. Knowing this he changes his tactics to tempt us with things such as worry, anger and not forgiving. The more mature you are the more subtle the temptations become. All temptations are designed to get us to rely on ourselves instead of God.
Jesus was also tempted in this way. We do not see Him tempted in things like murder, stealing, or adultery. But we do see temptations such as taking control of His own life, thinking of man’s interests instead of God’s and un-forgiveness.
Luke 2:41-52 is a rare look into the childhood of Jesus. At twelve years old, while the family was leaving Jerusalem, His parents realized He was not with the group. After looking for Him they found Him in the temple.
The temptation for Jesus was not that He was in the temple without His parents’ knowledge, because He said they should have known where He would be. The temptation was for Him to stay there and take control of His own life.
Verse 51 states, Jesus went down with His parents’ and continued in subjection to them. Since children are already under subjection to their parents’, this verse implies He had a choice. Jesus chose to go down and be placed under His parents’ authority, not falling into the temptation presented.
Satan would have hit Him with thoughts of; “I know more than my parents,” and “Why should I go down with them when I could learn more here with the teachers?” But instead He chose to stay where God wanted Him to be.
In Matthew 16:21-23, Jesus is tempted to think about man’s interests instead of God’s. When Jesus began telling His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed and raised up, Peter took Him aside and rebuked Him. Jesus said, “Get behind Me Satan, you are a stumbling block to Me, for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests but man’s.” Jesus saw this as a temptation to get His mind off of going to Jerusalem to fulfil God’s plan. He spoke out loud His declaration to continue on.
Satan continued to tempt Jesus up to the last minute of His life. Multiple times throughout His trial and crucifixion He had the temptation not to forgive the ones who were hurting Him. Even one hanging on a cross near Him was hurling abuse, but Jesus said of all, “Father forgive them, they do not know what they do,” not allowing Satan to enter.
2 Corinthians 2:10 says, “But whom you forgive anything I forgive also, for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ in order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant to his schemes.”
Jesus fought Satan’s attempts even to the last second of His life and defeated him by saying, (I believe over and over) Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing.
In these verses, Jesus shows us how to defeat the enemy and be victorious through temptations by watching, praying and declaring.
Jesus says in Matthew 26:41, “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Many times Jesus spoke out loud when being tempted, declaring what He believed and the direction He was going to take.
We should take example by staying in prayer, watching for temptations and making in advance declarations of what will be done when tempted.