3 needs ~ 1 Source

Russell Minick

Jesus’ allegiance to the Father’s Kingdom is tested in 3 primary needs:


  • Tempted to trust in bread, not in God; for physical sustenance.
  • Tempted to try and use God to get attention; for relational status
  • Tempted to make a deal to succeed in this corrupt world; for spiritual significance.


The world cannot adequately satisfy the desires of our bodies, our desire for appearances/status, or desire for meaning and hope.  We need to realize God as the ultimate source.

WORLD = cosmos

creation in rebellion from the Creator – impermanent (coming ruin)


created people & desires for good – permanent (lasting satisfaction)

1 John 2:15-17

Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—


  • the lust of the flesh and
  • the lust of the eyes and
  • the pride of life

—these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself].  And the world passes away and disappears, and with it the forbidden cravings (the passionate desires, the lust) of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his life abides (remains) forever.”


My understanding of these 3 in relation to Jesus’ temptations, as well as what he teaches about them in the Sermon on the Mount:

  • desires of flesh = physical (provision/pleasure)
  • desires for eyes = relational desires (attention/status)
  • pride of life = spiritual desires (achievement/meaning)

The “flesh” part is pretty obvious  the “eyes” part is not what we tend to think of at first.  We tend to think of the “lust of the eyes” as related to expressions like “eye-candy”, the idea of lusting after things we see.  But visual stimulation is just part of the lust of the flesh.  What if the eye-lust described here is the craving for attention and status?  Does that show up much in New Testament teaching?

  • White washed tombs appear clean but aren’t
  • The outside of the cup is made to appear clean, but isn’t
  • Satan comes masquerading (appearing) as an angel of light (but isn’t)
  • Ananias and Saphira try to appear more generous than they are, and it ends badly
  • etc.

This hypothesis will be developed as we look at what Jesus explains in the sermon on the mount…

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