The Gospels in 40 days Matthew 4

Matthew 4

Jesus was “led by the Spirit to be tempted” – at the very least this speaks of his full humanity – but he did not sin. At the very least this tells us that temptation is not sin.

Let’s take a look at these three temptations. These come at the end of a forty day fast. I’m certain that there were other temptations in those days -  and big ones. Yet these three have shared characteristics: they are not the run of the mill “lust of the flesh” temptations. Eating bread is not a sin, nor is there any command against turning rocks into bread.

While there is much that can be said about these temptations in terms of appetite, pride and avarice, at there heart are two lessons about spiritual maturity:

One is the temptation to twist scripture to fit our fancy, rather than to hear God’s will, and the second is that sin is not merely a list of forbidden things – sin is doing things your own way instead of doing God’s will.

The Devil misuses identity tempt Jesus saying “You’re important, you can do whatever you want: Turn stones to bread. Your fast is done, Feed yourself.” Jesus waits for God’s direction

The Satan misuses scripture to guide Jesus – Jesus knows that God is not calling to him in that scripture, but another. Jesus waits for God’s Word.

The Devil foolishly reveals the heart of all temptation: “Worship me instead of God.” Take the easy way. Get what is coming to you without sacrifice. Jesus’ worship of God is expressed in doing things God’s way, even though it means the cross.

“Resist the Devil and he will flee.” Some think they can end temptation by giving in. Jesus shows the power of a decisive commitment to God in the power of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t gaze longingly at the temptation. He doesn’t wrestle with it. He refuses it utterly. Finally Satan flees.

The message of Jesus is the same as John the Baptist’s, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” He calls and Fishermen repent of fishing! Sons repent of the family business. The change isn’t from Sinful practices, but from pursuing worldly things to pursuing heavenly things.

And heaven is near- the sick are healed, demons flee, Good news sounds above the noise of the world. Freedom flows from His presence.

Lord, we’re not as good at refusing temptation as you are. Teach us to do more than avoid the ‘big’ sins teach us to do nothing except our Heavenly Father’s will.