I really like what Selwyn has written today, especially this bit: “I must remind you of what I said earlier about Christ meeting us, not at the surface of life where there are many differences, but in the depths where we are all the same. Underneath all temptations, the basic issue is this – an enticement to act independently of God.“
In today’s study, Selwyn puts these questions to us: “Was our Lord put through the same pressures that we go through when we are tempted to go another way than God’s? … Did Jesus, (as a man,) experience the temptation to take an easier road – to act independently of God?”
In Matthew 4:1-11 (NLT), the verses (set for reading and meditation), clearly demonstrate three different ways used by Satan to tempt Jesus, starting with the temptation to use His power to satisfy His own human needs, and ending with the temptation to avoid the pain and torment of the cross. That is, to act independently to God’s will!
[Matthew 4:1-11] “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.”
I think, it’s also interesting that Satan knows Scripture; and, tried to use it to tempt Jesus: “For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. …” Even today, we have people who misuse Scripture to support their unique, personal interpretations of God’s will – a good test, is to ask the question – ‘Does the interpretation align well with what the entire Bible says?’
Another part of Selwyn’s study, which I thought was very well expressed, is this: ” … the first Adam failed in a garden feasting, but the second Adam triumphed in a wilderness fasting … “. What did you find to be useful for you in today’s study?
In Hebrews 4:14-16 (NLT), we read these great words: “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours (Jesus) understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings (temptations) we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
This is the confidence we have – Jesus understands our weaknesses; when we approach His throne, we will find that He will help us, when we need it most. You can count on His help – because He loves you.