“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”
Matthew 3:7-4:11 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
But when he 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.”
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.
In today’s text Matthew describes the baptism of Jesus and what happened immediately afterward: 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.” Just a short time later we read about the temptation of Jesus and the devil says: “If You are the Son of God…” God had just said, This is My beloved Son. We all, like Jesus need to know and be confident in what God has said, so that we will not be susceptible to the lies or the temptation of the devil. In yesterday’s text we saw the devil questioning God’s word saying: Did God say… In tempting Jesus, knowing as John 1:1;14 says that: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, the devil did not try to confuse Jesus about the word, instead he urged Him to prove Himself and what He believed. Here’s the thing, our faith, what we believe; who God is, is not proved by what we do, rather what we do proves whether we have faith. God created the heavens and the earth. He does not need us to prove His greatness. The devil said if you are the Son of God and challenged Jesus to prove it. God says this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. If God is pleased with us, what is left to prove? Our works do not prove that He is God. Our good works prove that we know and believe that He is God. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
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. There is no guilt or shame for us regardless of what things we are tempted by, even the most vile, immoral or abominable temptations. Jesus was tempted as we are. He was tempted to put Himself, His desires selfishly above God. He was tempted to test God and He was tempted to worship someone or something other than God. The devils temptations have not changed. James 1:14-15 says: Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. No one is initially tempted to do the most vile, immoral or abominable thing, but rather we are tempted in the areas of our own desires and the giving in to the least of those desires gives birth to sin. The small indiscretion leads to death causing sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. The way out of temptation is to turn immediately and completely toward God and His word just as Jesus did. When we question or doubt God’s word we are already falling to temptation. Revelation 21:8 says: But the cowardly (fearful), the unbelieving, (doubters) the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. Fear and doubt are sins which lead us to fall into greater sin, seeking something other than God. So too is lying. 1 John 1:8 says: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. James 4:7-8 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. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. If in the face of temptation, we will draw near to God, the devil will flee and we will again hear the voice of God say: this is My beloved child, in whom I am well pleased. 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When Adam and Eve had fallen into sin, there first response was to try to hide from God. When God confronted them, rather than confess their sin they tried to pass the blame. When we are faced with temptation or even have fallen into sin, we must not hide from, but rather draw near to God. We must not make excuses or justify our sin, but rather confess our sin to the faithful and just God who loves us and is well pleased with us.
The text says: 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.” That’s always the temptation of the devil; what he will give in exchange for worship. That’s always what he says, I will give you all this. 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. In John 8:44 Jesus says: “The devil… was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” In John 10:10 Jesus says: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” If we know and believe what Jesus said and what God says, if we will say what Jesus said, the devil will leave. There will be no temptation that will draw us into sin.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit; You are a loving and compassionate God. I believe I am Your child and in me You are well pleased. I believe in the finished work of the cross by which You have already forgiven my sin. I will not fear and I will not doubt, but having been saved by grace through faith, I will do the good works You have prepared for me, not to prove You are God, but to prove I am Yours. Amen.