Prepare to Listen. In humility, offer this prayer: Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ 4But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ 5Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’ 7Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; 9and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.”’ 11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
Jesus was led by the Spirit “to be tempted by the devil.” This sounds like a very intentional act. Jesus wasn’t preserved or protected from the onslaught of the devil’s wiles. He was led into the place where he’d face temptation head on. I wonder why? The temptation comes at the end of 40 days of fasting. Afterwards Jesus, naturally, “was famished.” Despite this, Jesus was able to resist the devil’s 3 sure-proof onslaughts. Three times he responded, “It is written,” each time quoting from the Law of Moses. Jesus was able to use Scripture as a sword to defeat Satan, not because he’d memorized appropriate isolated verses, but because he lived all his life in obedience to all God’s Word, including the Law of Moses. The devil was foiled because Jesus persevered in his commitment to live, as all God’s people are required to live, by every word that comes from the mouth of God. And when he was tempted, it was this commitment to knowing and living God’s law, not his ability to quote scripture, that sent the devil packing.
Temptation comes subtly, as an idea, barely a thought and we often fail to notice it and therefore fall into temptation. Wonder how you can become more aware of temptation today by thinking through what lies ahead and where the possible temptations may come.
Respond to Jesus
Lord, I know I can expect temptations to come. When they do, give me wisdom to recognize them, strength to refuse to give in, and grace to keep on trying until I live more and more like you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world, being committed to knowing and living all God’s law.
Because I believe that Scripture is food for our soul (our entire being) I seek to read it and encourage others to read it in ways that nourish and transform our beings. I invite you to read the Bible with me during Lent and into Easter. I am a Bible teacher, spiritual companion and retreat director. I know the Bile and how to read it for spiritual formation.