to Prepare to Listen. Pause in silence and stillness; rest in God’s assurance: I have called you by name, you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
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.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” He went from the emotional high of his baptism, that “great moment of vision, when his sense of God’s calling and love was so dramatically confirmed,” to face a brutal attack from God’s long-time adversary, the devil. The devil immediately cast doubt on God’s declaration given as Jesus came out of the water, “This is my son, the Beloved” (Mt 3:17). The devil said, “If you are the Son of God.”
This is how the devil works, casting doubt on what God has said, or on our sense of self-worth, our calling, our gifts. The devil has been doing this since the dawn of time, saying to Eve (and Adam beside her) in Eden, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ Surely not, the devil seems to imply. The first humans doubted and fell.
The devil used the same trick on Jesus. Did God really say you’re “my Son, the Beloved”? But Jesus wasn’t fooled. His trust in God’s words was unshaken, a settled conviction deep within and he had the power to resist the devil, so the story ended very differently to the Eden story and to so many of our own. The devil was foiled and “left him.” He’d be back but would fail again and again, even at the cross. Jesus prevailed because he knew and trusted God his Father.
Hear God’s word to Jesus as if spoken to you and trust that today.
Respond in Prayer
Lord, I know I am your beloved. Help me live that with confidence today. Amen.
Live Obediently. Trust God.
 Wright, N. T. Matthew for Everyone Part 1. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2004, p. 25.
Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.