Have you ever read the accounts of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness and immediately made the connection to the temptations you face? In other words, you see Jesus’ battle against temptation as primarily a lesson on how you should fight temptation. I know I have.
But we shouldn’t be too quick to identify with Jesus. In the wilderness Jesus was doing something unique. Sinclair Ferguson writes:
But whatever exemplary lessons may be appropriately learned (and there are many), it must be emphasized that this event is…of a unique kind. It is deliberately set before as a recapitulation and a rerun of the Eden temptation.? (For the Fame of God’s Name, 176)
In other words, Jesus wasn’t primarily giving us lessons in how to overcome temptation. Jesus was conquering where Adam had failed. Adam succumbed to the temptations of Satan, bringing death into the world. Jesus overcame the temptation of Satan, bringing life into the world. Adam, the son of God, failed as a representative of the human race. Jesus, the son of God, succeeded.
I love these words of Sinclair Ferguson:
He [Jesus] appears as the divine champion, as it were, entering into enemy-occupied territory under the guidance of the Spirit as the director of spiritual intelligence. Miss this, and we miss the point of the narrative: it is a declaration of war, an attack on the one who claims to be the ruler of this world (Luke 4:6). Rather than overcome Jesus, Satan is comprehensively defeated, and in a sovereign manner dismissed by his conqueror with the words, “Away from me, Satan!” (Matt. 4:10, NIV) (pages 176-177)