Our Church is having the pastoral staff write daily blog entries for devotionals during the season of LENT. Here is mine for today that just got posted.
Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus' Temptation
Reading the temptation of Jesus is a text of Scripture that many people, myself included, tend to want to gloss over. We look at the text and have the response of "well Jesus was God himself so it wasn't a big deal. He handled it, well. Lets move on & read the next page." But we need to pause long & hard here. These passages are crucial in our understanding of the significance of the nature of God, the redemption of Christ & the journey with Christ in our lives.
Jesus had just received a great blessing for his Father at his baptism, a spiritual "high" if you will just occurred. Then the Holy Spirit led Jesus to the wilderness to be tempted (a cynical "thanks Dad" could be offered here by Jesus but Matthew didn't record that). But notice Satan didn't show up until AFTER Jesus had been fasting for 40 days. Jesus was at a place of vulnerability & this was a REAL temptation by Satan. It wasn't a passive attack by Satan on Jesus, it was intentional & forceful. As scripture recorded this account the words Satan used were attacking the nature of Jesus' relationship with the Father--Yahweh.
The early Jewish audience Matthew was writing too would have seen the parallel of the children of Israel wander for 40 years & God's refining of His people through various trials & situations. The moments when an entire people had a choice to either bow to false Gods & follow the temptations of what they see around or stay focussed on the saving God whom rescued them from bondage & slavery physically & spiritually.
Satan attempted to rupture the very nature of the tri-une God. To create a break in the intimate relationship between the Father, Son & Spirit. Had Satan succeeded, the evil which opposes the very authenticity of the redeeming cry of God's heart would've have won. However, each response Jesus offers has the foundation of Relationship with Yahweh [Deuteronomy 6:4-6]. Man lives on Yahweh word of life [Deuteronomy 8:3]. Do not test Yahweh, your creator [Deuteronomy 6:16]. Worship Yahweh alone [Deuteronomy 6:13]!
For you, when Satan attacks you with temptation it is with the intent to make you question your relationship with your heavenly Father-Yahweh. Each temptation we fall into is one more sledgehammer hit Satan wants on our Soul, on our identity as a child of God. Satan's forceful hit in our lives parallels the attack on Jesus, to break up intimacy. "If you really love God you won't have that attitude", "How dare you say you love God when you treat your spouse with contempt" "You have integrity? Not after that conversation" "God loves you? HA! You are nothing" Those GONG like doubts in our head are the whispers of evil. Today run to the Cross of REDEMPTION & HEALING! Run to the Father-Yahweh who has forgiven you. Repent to God & others of what actions are sin, then cling to the embrace of Yahweh. Cling to the Father as Christ did in his moments of temptation. Cling to truth of Scripture & the Christ, the Savior who faced evil & punched it in the mouth!!
Today resist the temptations that come your way, but you can't do it on your own ask the Holy Spirit to lead you NOT INTO TEMPTATION, remember Jesus instructed us to pray that way for a reason (Matthew 6:13)!
Grace & Peace
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