Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
We can learn a few things from this chapter of Matthew concerning spiritual warfare and also the temporary dominion of the Enemy.
It’s interesting that Jesus was tempted soon after the Spirit of God came down at the Baptism and God declared, “This is my Son…“
If Jesus can be tempted, it should stand to reason that so can we all be, and often times I find that temptations and attacks come from the enemy after I’ve done something good, or that rather, showed Christ like behavior. Just when I think I’m getting it, growing in my faith walk, doing what I should be… BOOM, here it comes. Kind of like pride going before a fall? It keeps one humbled when we realize that we don’t accomplish, but God does. Even in fighting the enemy, we can only do in His strength by using His gifts and wisdom.
In this part of Matthew chapter 4 we see Jesus fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, hungry and most likely spiritually tired as well as physically. The enemy knows the best times to strike with temptation, but Jesus, even tired, has the full armor of God and uses the Sword of the truth and Word to overcome every temptation the Devil can throw.
Many Christians as well as non believers feel the Old Testament is irrelevant and old. That nothing contained therein is worth much since Jesus is featured in the New. And yet, the main weapon we have as Christians is the Word of Truth, which encompasses the whole Word, not just the New Testament or the red letters. Jesus quotes the Word for every temptation Satan throws at him. If Christians aren’t tempted or given trials by the enemy then chances are the enemy knows he has nothing to fear from them.
Temptations usually come when God is preparing a work for us, and if we are being trained in His Word, we ought to realize how much He gives us in advance to fight off the enemy’s tricks. And, I love how this chapter shows the compassion of the Lord in that when we pass through, He sends His angels to minister to us. Again, if Angels ministered to Jesus after His trial, they will minister to those who follow Him after ours.
Notice the ways in which Jesus was tempted- through his physical discomfort. Being hungry and alone, Satan asked a perfectly reasonable thing- if you’re hungry, ask God to…
Loneliness, poverty, physical needs such as food are often used in our time to bring discontent to those who are poor, lonely and hungry. “Why God don’t you…” “If God loves us why….”
Satan would have us question the goodness of God based on our worldly comfort or lack thereof. He tempted the Son who made water into wine, to make stones into bread, and the Son answered man does not live by bread alone, even when the Father provided manna to His people when they were in the wilderness.
Jesus was tempted through his physical care. Being confident in God’s provisions is something Christians learn over time, but what about physical harm? Accidents, illness, murder … Surely God, being a loving Father wouldn’t allow harm to come to His children.
I don’t know, ask one who’s been martyred for their faith.
Satan tempts Jesus here at the Temple- the most Holy place, in the Holy City which shows that Satan can and will tempt anyone anywhere, even in the most Holy of places. Church, the Garden of Eden. Satan is free (for now) to roam as he will, like a hungry lion waiting to devour those who pridefully believe they are safe and secure because God would never not heal us or save us from harm…
However while he has freedom to roam and deceive, he doesn’t have power to physically harm- as he tempted Jesus, cast thyself… when if he had the power, he would have cast Jesus down right then and there.
Jesus had no doubts in God’s will or in need of confirmation that He was secure in His Father- just as we have no need if we know we are in God’s will. When we go on our own ways is when we end up being hurt. Again. Satan tempted the Son who has a multitude of heavenly angels at His command, and the Son answered again by the Word that one should not tempt the Lord.
The third temptation really is strange- that Satan would offer the Creator of the world dominion over it, as if he had that right. That shows that right now, Satan does have dominion as he would have given it away for the Son’s worship.
What does it profit a man….
We are all so tempted by the world and all it offers for such a short time, but it costs for eternity. The angel of light disguises the world so we see the glory of it, the goodness in it and everything we could ever want if we’d only just pursue it with everything we have in us. And yet, there are millions who seemingly have everything they could ever want or need and are miserable. Once you have it all, what is there?
How many stories have we heard of those who needed more and more extreme things to try and find fulfillment and meaning in their lives?
There is a hole inside of all of us, but it’s a particular shape, and until you find Jesus to fill it, everything else will never fill it completely. Don’t lose your soul in order to gain temporary glory.
Get thee behind me Satan. It might not gain me the world, or fancy things or even comforts that others take for granted, but giving my life and worship to my Creator is worth all what this world has to offer. As God created us a beautiful world, sin has messed it up and behind all the glitter and glamour, there’s nothing worth selling one’s soul over.
Sometimes we feel like belting it out with our songs,
Other folks might prefer a more mellow anthem….
Have a blessed Sunday all.