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Jesus Is Tempted

Wonder (2-3)Year 1Unit 2 (Wonder About God’s Daring Mission)Session 1

Jesus Is Tempted

We worship Jesus, our Savior, who obeyed God and said no to Satan's temptations.
Faith Nurture Goals
  • Realize that Jesus knows how it feels to be tempted.
  • Suggest ways that Satan tempts us.
  • Share the news that Jesus will help us obey God and say no to Satan's temptations.
Memory Challenge

Leader Reflection

Preparing to Tell God's Story

We have just seen Jesus wet from his baptism where the Holy Spirit descended like a dove on him. Now that same Holy Spirit is leading him to the wilderness. Why? That question is too difficult for the children to grapple with, but it's an important one for you to settle in your own mind to teach the lesson effectively.

One hint is the forty days Jesus will spend in the wilderness. Now think of Israel's forty years in the wilderness on the way to the promised land, and their trials and sins along the way. Jesus is tested as Israel was. His hunger echoes that of the Israelites (Ex. 16). And note that all Jesus' replies to the devil are quotations from Deuteronomy, which retells the story of Israel's wilderness journey.

The point is this: Jesus, circumcised, bar mitzvahed, and baptized, is the new Israelite, God's new covenant partner. Jesus succeeds where Israel failed, obeys where Israel rebelled. Jesus brings salvation to all, where Israel was unable to secure its own gracious deliverance from Egypt. So we read the story with the story of Israel's wilderness journey in mind.

The very first temptation, like Israel in the wilderness, was hunger. Jesus was fasting for these forty days, and was obviously hungry. "If you're the Son of God . . ." Notice the subtle invitation to prove his true mettle, his divine origin. But even more, "You don't have to slog through life like the rest of humanity, you have the power to feed yourself any time---take this stone, for example."

Jesus' reply to every one of the temptations begins with the words, It is written. Jesus does not fight temptation by sheer willpower or in his own strength. For Jesus, and for us, the secret of fighting temptation is obedience to the word of God. "People do not live by bread alone" (Deut. 8:3, TNIV)

The devil just ups the ante. If physical hunger doesn't do it, maybe the sheer lust for power will. With a vision of all the kingdoms of the world in his eyes, the devil promises that all people everywhere will bow down to him, if Jesus will only bow to the devil.

Jesus replies: "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve only him'" (Deut. 6:13).

The devil finally catches on. Taking Jesus to a pinnacle of the temple, the devil invites him to jump and soar safely to the ground to the astonishment of the crowds below. He too now adds, "It is written, 'He will command his angels . . . they will lift you up in their hands. . . .'" The devil can use God's Word too, twisted and torn from its context. Jesus answers twisted Scripture with another Word from God that clearly trumps it: "Do not put the Lord your God to the test" (Deut. 6:6).

All in all, Jesus' testing has to do with the question, will he abandon his calling to identify with humanity by walking the path of suffering, or will he make it easy for himself with divine power?

All the temptations we ultimately face are meant to deflect us from the pathways of discipleship into serving our own desires. And the best answer is still, It is written . . .

  • Why does God test faith? How is your faith tested?

  • How do you conceive of the devil?

  • C. S Lewis said that we can think too much of the devil or too little. What did he mean?

  • Be sure to convey the fact that Jesus was truly tempted, or else it becomes a mere charade. Only if Jesus was truly tempted can he help us when we are tempted. Jesus’ own temptations enable him to give us the sympathy and help provide what we need in our own temptations.

  • Be very cautious in how you talk about the devil, a very fascinating topic for kids. While confirming that the devil really exists as a created spiritual being who is God’s enemy and ours, make sure they realize that Jesus has defeated the devil and conquered evil.


Step 1 Gathering for God's Story

  • music smart
  • picture smart
  • word smart
  • ​​people smart

Children have experienced and understand the temptation to do things that aren’t right. The focus of today’s session—that Jesus will help us say no to Satan and yes to obeying God—puts the joy in presenting this message.

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