The Temptation of Jesus

Theme: The Temptation of Christ (First Sunday in Lent, Yr. A)
Object: A large foam pointing finger or a pointing finger you made from poster board.
Scripture: Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1 (NIV)

Have you ever been tempted to do or say something that you know is wrong? For example, you knew you had homework that needed to be done, but your favorite program was on TV, so you chose to watch TV instead of doing your homework. The next day when your teacher asked you why you didn't turn in your homework, you told the teacher, "My dog ate it" or "My baby brother tore it up." We begin to point the finger of blame at someone else.

It isn't a sin to be tempted unless we do what we are tempted to do even though we know it is wrong. Even Jesus himself was tempted. In our Gospel lesson today, we read about the temptation of Jesus.

After Jesus was baptized, he went out into the desert to pray. He stayed there a long time and got very hungry. He had not eaten anything because He was trying to listen to God and do what he said. I'm sure that his tummy must have been rumbling from hunger!

Suddenly, the devil came along and said to Jesus, "There is no reason for you to be hungry. If you are the Son of God, you could take one of these stones and turn it into bread." Jesus was hungry, it must have been tempting, but he did not listen to the devil. He knew that the devil was trying to get Him to do something wrong. Instead, Jesus answered the devil with Scripture. He said, "It is written: 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Next, the devil took Jesus to the holy city up to the highest part of the temple. "If you are the Son of God, jump off of here and God will send his angels to save you." Jesus knew that it was wrong to test God, so he answered the devil saying, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Finally, the devil took Jesus to a very high mountain. He showed Jesus all the world below. "All of this can be yours. I will give it to you if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus answered, "Go away from me Satan! It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"

Three times the devil tempted Jesus and tried to get him to sin. Did He? NO! Jesus did the right thing each time. He remembered what the Scriptures said and it helped him to resist the devil's temptation.

We all face temptations, don't we? What are examples of some of the temptations you face? (Give the children time to give feedback.) Here are a few ways I thought of that we may be tempted followed by a Bible verse that will help us resist that temptation.

Spreading gossip about another student in your class. (You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16)

Disobeying your parents. (Honor your father and mother. Exodus 20:12)

Taking something that does not belong to you. (You shall not steal. Exodus 20:15)

Eating too many sweets or too much junk food. (Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:19)

Remember, when Jesus was tempted, he turned to Scripture to help him resist Satan. You and I should do the same thing.

Father, we are thankful for your Holy Word. Help us to read our Bible daily and hide its words in our heart so that we might be able to resist temptations. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.