**Please be sure to read all around this passage so that you are getting it in context; and as always, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the understanding that He would have you see. Passage: Matthew 4:1-11
How do you even tackle this moment in one post?....I have no illusions about being able to discuss all that is available in this passage so I will take small bites and just work with them each seperately. I would like to preface this study with a general understanding that I have about this....
Jesus' ministry was a spiritual journey that matched the prior journey of the Israelites with one exception...He prevailed where they failed. With that said...let's start.
Mat 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. Mat 4:2 For forty days and forty nights He fasted and became very hungry.
Things to note here:
- Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days/nights to be tempted.
- The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness being led by Moses.
Also note that Jesus did it alone, without sustenance, while the Israelites had food and water supplied to them by God. Next...
Mat 4:3 During that time the devil came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread." Mat 4:4 But Jesus told Him, "No! The Scriptures say, 'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Things to note here:
- Jesus is tempted first with food and the desire to fulfill appetite over the Will of the Father. He resists with the Word of the Father.
- Israel grumbled and complained about mana and water and no meat. (think quail) They fail to trust in God.
Take note of the tool Jesus uses to combat the temptations of the Devil. Often we like to say..."Well this just goes to show you how important it is for us to read our bibles and always use the word when we argue with non-believers" [say in a deep redneck-like voice]. While this is partially true it is not the deeper lesson to be learned. The real "tool" that Jesus is using here is putting the Will of the Father above all else; no matter what. Scripture showed him the Fathers Will...but what he held on to was a deep desire to never break his relationship with his Father and to always always do His Will.
Do you hold that to be true in your life? I'm not saying "go out and be perfect"...or..."learn the Father's Will and never deviate from it or you will perish"...what I'm saying is that following the Father's Will should be a driving force in your life. Listen for it, seek opportunities to follow it. Rejoice in the moments that you do it...and seek forgiveness as soon as you realize that you have failed to follow it. Let that be the driving force in your life...instead of selfish fulfillment.
Mat 4:5 Then the devil took Him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, Mat 4:6 and said, "If You are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, 'He will order His angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.'" Mat 4:7 Jesus responded, "The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the LORD your God.'"
Things to note here:
- Jesus was taken to the highest point of Jewish glory, the temple, and tempted to prove who He was.
- Israel started to consider the temple as more glorious then the one who dwelt inside of it. Still today they kiss the stone of the broken down temple.
Is it really right to consider a place or a think holy? What makes something holy? I think it is only the presence of God that makes something holy. The Israelites had forgotten that it was God's presence that made their temple holy, not all the splendor of it's construction; the gold, the massive stones, etc. Even today some Christians have a belief that Israel is the holy land...but Jesus taught us..."Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I will be also". We don't have to go to a specific location to feel the holiness of God...we just have to "gather in His name" and He will be there...thus making it holy for that time.
Mat 4:8 Next the devil took Him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Mat 4:9 "I will give it all to You," he said, "if You will kneel down and worship me." Mat 4:10 "Get out of here, Satan," Jesus told him. "For the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the LORD your God and serve only Him.'"
Things to note here:
- Jesus is tempted here with everything the world has to offer if he will only bow down and worship satan. His steadfast belief in the Fathers power to give all that He had promised and his reliance on the Will of the Father (through scripture) gave him the victory here.
- The Israelites were offered "The land of milk and honey" if they would only follow and worship God, yet only two of them from the first generation made it. Their unbelief resulted in the loss of God's promise.
This is the final temptation. This is all that Satan, the usurper of this world has to offer. He doesn't even have a true right to offer it...because he is "created" not "Creator". He can only offer it temporarily...God offers us so much more and He has the soveriegn right to make that offer.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
The temptation is at an end. Satan has lost the battle...Jesus is vitorious and with authority he tells the devil to leave....and leave he does. He has no power to continue to tempt Jesus...he leaves a defeated foe. Praise the Lord!
Please be with all of the prayer requests listed on that page. Lord, you know what it right in each situation...but I ask you for physical healing for my son, and spiritual healing for my daughter. Please be with each request and may Your will be done.
Thank you Lord, for all that you provide. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for the time that my wife and I shared with our friends last night. May we always be able to show you to those around us.
Forgive me Lord, for my sins and my selfish heart. Make in me a new heart...one that strives to always follow Your Will first and foremost. Help me to see Your Will. Thank you for your Sabbath day ...thank you for your promise to be with us today in a special way. Amen.