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Testing in the Wilderness

Wednesday, January 31st
Testing in the Wilderness
By: Pastor Melissa Beauvais
Matthew 4:1-11

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.

Jesus has just been baptized; He was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tested. Take note of the timing. The ministry of Jesus is about to begin; God is about to move! Also, take note of who is present: Jesus, the Spirit, and Satan. Testing vs. Temptation will be determined by who Jesus chooses to follow.

Three times, Jesus would be tested. Hungry and drained, Satan goes after the low-hanging fruit. Jesus is hungry. It’s easy to attack when you’re most vulnerable. That doesn’t work, so the devil raises Jesus a little higher (v5). This position, like stages and platforms, offers slight elevation so the attention can be set on that person. Jesus doesn’t give in and again overcomes (v7). Transporting Jesus to the highest mountain to see all the kingdoms, a way for Jesus to “feel” that power, the devil tries again by offering Him all the riches and power the world can give (v8). Again, Satan fails, and Jesus prevails.
Did you notice the elevation change? Satan tried with each climb to distort the relationship between the Father and His Son by manipulating God’s Word. His tactics aren’t new; they have been the same since the beginning. Distort the relationship and calling, distort the mission and identity.

Desire, Attention, and Power: three ways where Satan will try to pull you down and bring you off track, elevating each with more appeal. Take notice how Jesus defeated Satan 1) by the Word of God used rightly and 2) Through the power of the Spirit. By this power, Jesus will continue the mission to bring the Kingdom of God. This same power is given to Christians to defend themselves against the enemy’s schemes and empower them to bring the Good News to all nations.

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