Lesson Thirty Three


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Memory Verse: Matthew 4:4
Further Study: Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; Desire of Ages, 114-131; The Bible Story, vol. 7, pp. 109-118

Maybe you’ve heard about the Artificial Intelligence (AI) phenomenon. I was first introduced to it when a colleague shared “selfies” of the Exodus story including those of Pharaoh with his son; an Egyptian suffering a plague; and Moses with the Israelites just before the Red Sea parted. These images, obviously manufactured, were created completely by a computer. Interesting stuff until the next AI images I saw were of former President Trump being arrested, surrounded by police, handcuffs, and more. The only problem with these photos was that they were completely fake—not only had what was pictured not happened, he hadn’t even been arrested yet!

As I write this, AI is rapidly growing as more begin to play with its potential. There are news stories and podcasts that are completely fake. We’re told it is only a matter of time until AI videos are circulating. It’s enough of a problem where I heard one well-known television news anchor admit she doesn’t know who to trust anymore. It made me think of the day when we know we will hear that Jesus has returned, although He actually hasn’t. I’ve often wondered how that might be staged to be believable. It would seem AI might be an answer.

Satan, himself, took on Jesus in the wilderness. He tempted Jesus with three temptations, which on the surface may not seem difficult, but for Jesus each went right to His identity and mission. Any one of these temptations, had Jesus yielded, would have aborted His entire purpose for coming—to save us.

Any one of these temptations, had Jesus yielded, would have aborted His entire purpose for coming—to save us. 

Ellen White writes that Jesus knew right away who He was dealing with even though Satan arrived disguised as an angel of light sent from heaven to aid the weakened Messiah. Jesus resisted the temptation to enter into a battle of words or actions, but simply replied with and relied on Scripture. 

The ability to discern truth from fiction doesn’t simply happen. A quick Google search will point to any number of articles explaining how to discern AI. How can you know a photo is real? How can you tell if the voice on the podcast is manufactured? And closer to home, how can we tell if what we are told by others is actually the truth found in Scripture or a manufactured lie?

Jesus knew He was dealing with error because of the words said, the tone used, and because He had studied the Scriptures before going into His wilderness experience. Therein lies the answer for us. Ellen White warns: “So closely will the counterfeit resemble the truth that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures” (The Great Controversy, p. 593). We must study the Bible so that we can discern a counterfeit. We must be careful not to be swayed by appearances, personality, or charisma, but to carefully listen and study the Scriptures for ourselves.

We must carefully listen and study the Scriptures for ourselves.

Satan offers three temptations, and Jesus does not yield. But this was not a “one and done” event. Note that Satan leaves Jesus “until an opportune time.” We must remember that Satan is “like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). We are never safe from temptation. We must always be on our guard. We must study the Scriptures. We must practice discernment. We must watch that we are not walking where “lions” are known to hunt.

Jesus is coming soon. Satan wants us to think more of ourselves and less of eternity; focus more on this earth and less on heaven. Let’s determine to lift our faces upward each and every day and be renewed.


Digging Deeper 

I found two interesting quotes concerning the temptations of Jesus. Read them and give them a few moments of consideration. 

“The devil addressed Jesus as the Son of God, but Jesus answered with the duties of a common man. This is the meaning of his sonship, not to stand above human beings, but to live among them; not, as God, to be different, but as a man like them to carry out his commission as the Son of God.”1 

This is such an important point. We tend to think of the great controversy—good against evil when we read this story and well we should. But it is well to be reminded that Jesus, while God, was Man. He met Satan as we should. He overcame temptation as we are able. Equally important is that when Satan confronted Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus thought of me. He thought of you. Jesus didn’t succumb to temptation because He was committed to saving us. He came to earth to live as we do, so that we can live with Him for eternity.

“Since he [Satan] has lost heaven, he was determined to find revenge by causing others to share his fall. This he would do by causing them to undervalue heavenly things, and to set the heart upon things of this earth.”2 

Did you catch how Satan tempts us? He causes us to undervalue heavenly things. Think about this and contemplate recent choices and actions. Are we spending too much time focus on our lives here that we forget the life we will have for eternity?

1 E. Lohmeyer, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus (KEK; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1956), 57.
2 The Desire of Ages, p. 116.

Making it Real

Jesus fought Satan with the Word. We have the same resources. Jesus did not have anything more than we have. This week find one Bible verse to memorize. Having trouble choosing? Start with the one below. If you’re able memorize more than one, use the memory verse.

 “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11

“But He answered and said, ‘It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”’” Matthew 4:4



Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being a grandmother to two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus, and a granddaughter, born in 2023. She is blessed to have all three living close by, continually bringing joy and delight.


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