The Gospel of Matthew 4:1-11

At that time, Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward 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 proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Then the devil took Him to the holy city, and set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will give His angels charge of you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'” Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said to Him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! for it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.'” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

 

While this story may seem to be fairly straightforward it has many nuances; for example it begins with, At That Time in this version but in the King James it reads Then. This seemingly simple beginning speaks volume, when you read the previous chapter in context. At the end of chapter three we find that Jesus had been baptized, the Spirit has descended upon Christ and a voice from heaven said “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17 KJV) Following the statement from God acknowledging his Son—Jesus Christ—Jesus was immediately led up into the wilderness where he was tempted by the devil.

All far too often when we have accepted Christ as our savior, we are immediately tested by the devil to see if we are resolute in our having been born again and having turned our backs on our previous life of sin. Does strange and anomalous thoughts suddenly enter into your consciousness seemingly from out of nowhere, thoughts that seem to say—for example—something is okay when you know it to be wrong? This might be a sign of oppression as it might be that the devil is tempting you to sin, even though you are a born again Christian; the trick of course is not to surrender to that suggestion.

 

Say this prayer or one of your own;

Father, I pray that You might give me a heart of wisdom. I pray that I will always make wise choices; and when two paths seem to be equal, I pray You will help me to trust You even as I make my decision. Give me a heart that is willing to obey You, to respond in faith to the wisdom You give me.

Enable me to discern my true needs which are hidden from me. I ask for neither cross nor consolation; I wait in patience for You. My heart is open to You. For Your great mercy’s sake, come to me and help me.

Put Your mark on me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up. I desire only to do Your will.

 

Amen.

 

As Always;

Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the suffering; honor everyone; love and serve God; rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit!

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