Tuesday, January 05, 2010


The first part of today's reading in Matthew deals with Jesus facing off with Satan in the wilderness. I think that the progression of the temptation is interesting and I think that we can learn from it and the way that Jesus handled it. It's easy to say that...you know...he's Jesus. That's supposed to be easy for Jesus. The Bible tells us that Jesus faced the temptations as a man--just like we face them. In the wilderness, Jesus turns them aside by using the Scriptures. This is as good an encouragement as there is for us to read and remember the Scriptures. They will help you during times of temptation and trials.

In any case, Satan begins with a simple temptation--you're hungry, why not just use a little godly power to satisfy your physical needs? There is no misusing the Scriptures here. There is no need to. The simplest temptations deal with satisfying our personal wants and desires; taking care of number 1. So what would've been the harm? Jesus is hungry (he's been fasting 40 days). Jesus is God. Take care of business. Turn a few rocks to bread and eat. (although Satan lack some serious imagination here. Really, if a minor miracle is in order why not a plate full of some serious hot wings, a steak--medium rare please, or a cheese cake with strawberries?) But Jesus faces the temptation ... like a man, and turns Satan aside with a quote from the Scriptures.

Then Satan ramps it up a bit and starts in on Jesus on a more personal level.
"So you're the Son of God, eh? Let's see what happens if you put yourself in danger. The Scriptures say that God is watching out for you; that His angels will keep the junior God from hurting himself."
But Jesus refuses to play in Satan's little game. Once again, Jesus uses the Scriptures to turn Satan aside.

Finally, it's the biggie--the one that gets all of us. Fame, fortune, wealth, and POWER! "Jesus, I can give you all of these things...if you will worship ME!"
By this time, Jesus has figured out that He's not living a life of great comfort. He doesn't have a horse or camel to travel on. He doesn't have a rich set of parents to fund the upcoming years of ministry. He is going to have to convince a lot of people that he is bringing the message of God and a little wealth and power could be pretty helpful in getting people to listen to what he has to say. Instead of being the servant-Savior, he can be the King-Messiah that everybody is expecting. This could make the next three years a proverbial piece of baklava.

Unfortunately, many of us want to take the shortcuts. Too often we want to execute God's plan in our way. Even when we have a pretty good idea of what God wants from us, we tend to want to improve on His design. For a third time, Jesus uses Scripture to turn Satan aside--plus a strong rebuke to let Satan know that He is not going to entertain these temptations any longer!

If Jesus called upon His divine nature to overcome these temptations, then the Bible can't teach us that He faced temptation as a man--besides, Jesus set those divine characteristics aside when He became man. He faced them the way we face them and He overcame them the same way that we can overcome them...as humans trusting in God's Word.

I believe that there might be a sermon in there!

John <><

1 comment:


This was very insightful and I have to admit to taking a few of my own shortcuts.