This is My beloved, in whom I am well pleased
Matthew 3:7-4:11 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But when he (John the Baptist) saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; 9 and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. 10 The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” 15 But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. 16 After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, So that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
Yesterday, in the temptation and deception of Eve, we saw that the devil offered Eve something she already had. He told her that if they ate from the fruit of the tree of knowledge, they would be like God. In truth, when God created them, male and female, He created them in His image and likeness. In the same way, the devil tried to tempt Jesus using the same strategy. Today’s text says: Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. The devil tried to offer Jesus something He already had. In Matthew 28:18 Jesus says: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Some might say that the temptation happened before the cross, so that before the cross Jesus did not have all authority. Jesus though knew who He was and whose He was. Earlier in today’s text, after being baptized, it says: After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Being one with God, Jesus already was given all authority in heaven and earth. The temptation then was again like what Adam and Eve were tempted by, obedience and submission to God verses self satisfying, self seeking submission to the temptation of the devil.
Jesus final response to the devil’s temptation was: “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him. There are several things we can learn from and apply to our own lives in today’s text. It is important that we realize that temptation is not sin. Jesus Himself was tempted. Hebrews 4:15 says: We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. James 1:13-15 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. The key in what James says is that we are tempted and enticed by our own lust. Some are tempted with lust in sexual immorality. Others are tempted with lust for material things. Some are tempted by the lust for power. Still others are tempted by the lust for fulfillment through addictions to any number of things. The point is, we are tempted and enticed by our own lust or desire. What is a great temptation to me might be of little or no significance to someone else and conversely what is a great temptation to someone else might seem insignificant or even deplorable to me. The truth is that no matter what we are tempted with or by, it is not the temptation that separates us from God, it is yielding to that temptation which is sin. Jesus Himself was tempted, having a human body and mind, He was tempted in every way we are. Sin comes not by what is our greatest temptation or lust, but by our response to it. When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
Jesus resistance to the temptation of the devil serves as a model for us to resist his temptations. In every instance Jesus answered the temptation of the devil with the word of God. Again, Jesus knew who He was. The Father said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Quoting scripture reminded the devil of the truth. James 4:7-10 says it this way: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded… Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you. In the same way that Jesus knew who He was in God’s sight, we too need to know who we are. Knowing what God says is vital to our knowing who we are and whose we are. Quoting scripture when we are tempted reminds the devil of the truth. Romans 8:14-17 says: All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Like Jesus, we are children of God. We were created in His image and likeness. We were created to have dominion over creation. Through Jesus sacrifice and the finished work of the cross, we have been redeemed from sin. We have been reconciled to God and we have been restored to all that He intended for us. Will we still be tempted? Of course, even Jesus, God in flesh was tempted. But as James says: Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. It worked for Jesus. The text says: The devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.
The devil cannot give us anything that we need, which we don’t already have from God, in Christ. The psalmist says: Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. As we delight, trust and dwell in and with the Lord, as we commit to and submit to Him, He will give us, He has given us all that we need. Jesus says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit, in everything may I know who You say I am, so that whether in temptation or tribulation, I can resist the devil, drawing near to You as Your child, as one who is created in and restored to Your image and likeness through Christ Jesus, may I have the desires of my heart. May I have rest and peace. Amen.