Today’s verses can be read here. You can ask questions and make observations through the comments section which can be found above. It’s the link that helpfully says ‘leave a comment’.
Deserts can be beautiful but the prospect of spending a few weeks in a desert isn’t very appealing for most of us. Jesus went into the desert not by any sort of accident or because he was lost, he was led into the desert by the Spirit. God wanted Jesus to be in this difficult and challenging place. Sometimes Christians can give the impression that when you become a Christian, your problems will be over. This is of course nonsense. Any reading of the New Testament will reveal the suffering of the first Christians, much of it was written from prison. Paul writes in his letter to Roman Christians; “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) So there may well be challenging times ahead, but it is worth it.
The concept of the devil is something many find difficult. Let’s start by dispelling a few myths; ideas like the horns, the forked tail, the red suit and the pitch fork are not found anywhere in the bible. Neither is he the guy who runs hell shoving people into the furnaces with his fork. Hell is a place of punishment and separation from God, created for the devil (Matthew 25:41) and a place of which he is terrified. He is a supernatural being of great power, probably a fallen angel and he is opposed to God and his purposes. One of his principal weapons is temptation and he used it against the Lord Jesus during his forty days in the desert. Another favourite ploy is to question the word of God. (Genesis 3:1, Luke 3:22, 4:3)
It’s not a sin to be tempted; after all Jesus was tempted more than anyone and yet was without sin. The question is not whether or not we are tempted, because we all are; it’s how we respond to temptation. Jesus in his responses to temptation, give us a great blueprint that we can follow. He quotes scripture three times, all of them from Deuteronomy. It’s the fifth book of the Old Testament and is comprised of a series of sermons by Moses given to the children of Israel just before they moved into battle. Perhaps Jesus, knowing of the battles to come, had been meditating on Deuteronomy prior to the desert experience. We do know that Jesus was a man who knew the scriptures very well. His responses can be summed up as saying ‘you say that but God has said this’. As the Psalmist puts it; “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
Thank you Lord for Jesus, that he triumphed over every challenge that he faced. Help us Lord to meditate on your word, take it to heart and put it into practise.