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Sunday, March 9, 2014

tempted by the devil


Matthew 4:1-11

 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" 7 Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9 and he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." 10 Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! for it is written, `You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Exhortations
 Are you ready to follow the Lord Jesus wherever he wishes to lead you? After Jesus' was baptized by John the Baptist at the River Jordan, he withdrew into the wilderness of Judea - a vast and mostly uninhabitable wilderness full of danger.

Danger from scorching heat by day and extreme cold at night, danger from wild animals and scorpions, plus the deprivation of food and the scarcity of water.

 Why did Jesus choose such a barren, lonely place for an intense and long period of sustained prayer and fasting? Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us in their Gospel accounts that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness.

 Mark states it most emphatically: "The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness".

What compelled Jesus to seek solitude, away from his family and friends, for such a lengthy period? Was it simply a test to prepare him for his mission?

Or did Satan want to lure him into a trap? The word tempt in English usually means to entice someone to do what is wrong or forbidden.

The scriptural word used here also means test in the sense of proving and purifying someone to see if there are ready for the task at hand.

We test flight pilots to see if they are fit to fly under all conditions, including times of adverse turbulence, storms, and poor visibility.

 In like manner God tests his people to see if they are ready to follow and serve him without reservation or compromise.

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