Matthew – Fulfilled
The big test is tomorrow! You agonize over it for it will mean a lot to your progress in class. Your score will be figured in heavily to all the daily work you put into this coursework. You know that all you have learned to this point will probably be on the test. This test will stretch your mind of recall. The test will evaluate just how ready you are for the next step in your coursework. But, you decide not to prepare for it. Ah, I’ve got this, you think.
Is that how we “do life”? I am struck by two words in our next passage in the Story of God: Jesus prepared. After humbling himself, the perfect One who knew no sin, to be baptized by John, the Spirit of God led him into the wilderness for the big test.
“The Devil was ready to give the test.” He had been waiting a long time to give God’s Son all the limited arsenal he had to deliver this test of wills. Jesus prepared Himself for it by fasting forty days and nights, probably thinking through what He will say and do for the big Test.
Have you ever pulled an all-nigther, studying for a finals? I have and it is physically exhausting but that is nothing compared to fasting for forty days and nights. Jesus was weak physically but not spiritually. The devil took advantage of his weakness because that’s how he works. It’s all he’s got, actually. He tempts the will of God’s Son with food. Jesus’ preparation yielded the best answer, “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
Two more tests are delivered in this battle of wills. Jesus wins. Test over. The tempter left. Angels tend to Jesus’ needs. God’s beloved Son aces the test.
We, too, are tempted in the battle of wills. Ours vs. God’s. The tempter wants us to remain selfish, seeking our own will and perceived pleasures in this life. Are we prepared? Do we rely on God’s Words to rebuke the temptations? Jesus, the Son of God, prepared for His test. Again, I ask myself, am I prepared?
Matthew 4, The Message
1-3 Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. That left him, of course, in a state of extreme hunger, which the Devil took advantage of in the first test: “Since you are God’s Son, speak the word that will turn these stones into loaves of bread.”
4 Jesus answered by quoting Deuteronomy: “It takes more than bread to stay alive. It takes a steady stream of words from God’s mouth.”
5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
8-9 For the third test, the Devil took him to the peak of a huge mountain. He gestured expansively, pointing out all the earth’s kingdoms, how glorious they all were. Then he said, “They’re yours—lock, stock, and barrel. Just go down on your knees and worship me, and they’re yours.”
10 Jesus’ refusal was curt: “Beat it, Satan!” He backed his rebuke with a third quotation from Deuteronomy: “Worship the Lord your God, and only him. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.”
11 The Test was over. The Devil left. And in his place, angels! Angels came and took care of Jesus’ needs.
Something to think about…
–Jesus has been known as the son of man. God’s Son is now ready, after passing His finals, to begin his mission ministry of seeking lost people from all walks of life on earth and saving them from themselves. The heavens open up ready to receive all who believe in Him.
–Jesus prepared. We must prepare.
–Jesus taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from evil…” God will answer this sincere prayer of His believers with help to continue to follow HIS will rather than our own.
–Know God. Know His Word. Know Your Enemy. Know Yourself. Be prepared.
–Shout it, if you have to, “BEAT IT, SATAN!” in the Name of Jesus Christ when tempted, and he will flee from you. We are promised that in God’s Word. (James 4:7)
Dear Heavenly Father, Hallowed be Your Name. May Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily dose of Your Words with Your strength. Lead us not into temptations, but deliver us from evil. For You have all power. To You be all the glory, honor and praise!
In Jesus Name, Amen