PASSING THE TEST
Father God, I pray the psalmist’s prayer before I read Your Word, “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me” (Psa. 43:3).
Read Matthew 4:1–11
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’[c]”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’[d]”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’[e]”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectBegin today by saying the Lord’s Prayer slowly and thoughtfully. You can find it in Matthew 6:9–13.
No one relishes times of testing. Yet God allows such times (note that the Spirit leads Jesus into testing, v 1). For Matthew’s Jewish readers, the words ‘wilderness’ and ‘forty’ would vividly recall the 40 years God led the Israelites through the desert ‘to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands’ (Deuteronomy 8:2).
Jesus’ temptations centered on his unique role as God’s chosen King (vs 3, 6). As the devil cast doubt on Jesus’ identity, we wait to see if Jesus will trust his Father’s Word (v 17), or not. Where the Israelites in the desert failed to trust God’s Word, Jesus, the obedient servant-king, passed each test by relying on and apply- ing God’s Word in each situation (vs 4,7,10). Even when the devil misapplied scripture (v 6), Jesus countered effectively because he knew the Scriptures in breadth and depth. Jesus has modeled a way through temptation by demonstrating how God’s Word is sufficient in every situation. If God’s Word is the means by which we endure and prevail over temptation (see 1 Corinthians 10:13), how might we prepare better for times of testing?
Be prepared! Why not aim to read the Bible in a year or memorize key scriptures about the character of God, or the Christian life?
Lord Jesus, I know every time I get serious in following You, Satan gets serious in tempting me. Infuse me with the Spirits’ enabling power, that I may stand strong in temptation.
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