Devotions for the Week of March 5, 2017

Meditation for the Week of March 5, 2017

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ But he answered, ‘It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:1-4 

When the devil tries to tempt Jesus, he uses the same trick that had worked with Adam and Eve—he appealed to Jesus’ stomach. When he had tempted Eve, he showed her that the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was “good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that it was to be desired to make one wise,” and so she ate it. Here the devil tries to get Jesus to give in to His flesh and command the stones around Him to become bread so that He could eat—that is, the devil tried to get Jesus to command the stones to be something that they were never intended to be just so that the growling in His stomach would go away.

There’s something more insidious about the devil’s temptation here. He’s not only trying to get Jesus to make the stones into something they weren’t supposed to be. He’s trying to get Jesus to doubt whether He’s really God’s Son. He says, “If you are the Son of God…” The devil tried to get Jesus to doubt His identity of being God’s Son. After all, if He were really God’s Son, would God let Him go hungry? Would He make His Son really suffer like that? Why shouldn’t Jesus take matters into His own hands, since things looked like His heavenly Father wouldn’t?

This is the devil’s temptation to us as well. He tries to get us to doubt that we really are God’s children. He does this when times are hard. The devil whispers to us: “What kind of God would really let His child suffer like you are? Maybe you should take control of your own life, rather than trusting Him.” We should be on our guard against temptations like this.

Jesus shows us the best way to deal with the devil’s lies and temptations—by using the Word of God. Jesus doesn’t try to reason or argue with the devil. He simply dismisses the tempter’s lies with God’s Truth. We really are God’s children, no matter what we’re facing. Jesus has won the victory over the devil so that now he has no power. God has revealed to us that we are adopted into His household because of what Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross. When we’re armed with that Truth, we have God’s own armor against the tempter’s power. We rely on God’s Word rather than our experience. We trust Jesus’ victory.

           

Our Weekly Prayer

Please consider praying this prayer as part of your daily prayers.

O Lord God, You led Your ancient people through the wilderness and brought them to the Promised Land. Guide me and all the people of Your Church, that following our Savior, we may walk through the wilderness of this world and overcome the temptations of the evil one; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.