January 7, 2016: Day 4 – Matthew 4

Let’s start with Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. As soon as he is proclaimed the Son of God he goes off by himself to prepare himself for the ministry that is to come. This is so crucial. Throughout Jesus’ life we see him withdraw from the crowds and go away, normally up a mountain, to pray and prepare. His public ministry which he is just about to start is bathed in prayer. Even out Savior doesn’t try to set out and do things without ascertaining the will of His Father and then pursuing the kingdom of God through that preparation. Notice that in each of the temptations: the desire for abundant provision, the quest for control, and the pursuit of power, Jesus responds to Satan with Scripture. Satan tries to lure Jesus once with Scripture for the second temptation, but it doesn’t work. Jesus was prepared and knew the Scriptures which provided him with the means to defend himself. What a great lesson for us.
Just a word on Satan, in the Greek it means literally adversary. I have addressed a couple times the development of the understanding of who Satan or the devil is and how John Milton’s book Paradise Lost has really been instrumental in our current understanding up and against the biblical approach. If you are interested in this topic then look up the times in Scripture that Satan or the devil is mentioned and I think that you will be surprised how few times it actually is.
Jesus not only survives the temptation but is then ministered to by angels. What a great way to get ready for what comes next!
Next in chapter 4 we find Jesus calling his disciples. Here he chooses fishermen who are busy at their trade. Simon and his brother Andrew are chosen, then other fishermen in James and John and promises that one day they will become fishers of men.
There is a parallel Scripture in Luke 5 that I encourage you to read because it matches this calling of the disciples with a miracle of Jesus by encouraging Peter to throw his net in a certain spot and sure enough he catches enough fish to fill two boats.
What we learn about Jesus here is that he took time to prepare himself for his ministry. Once that is done, then he chooses people to carry out the work that is before him. Jesus was not in any way a loner. Sure, he went off and prayed by himself, but he needed people around him to carry out His work. You see this especially in the Garden of Gethsemane when he tells his disciples to stay up with him just a little while longer.
I hope this day you see how you can prepare yourself in prayer and discipline for the work that God has laid out before you.

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3 Responses to January 7, 2016: Day 4 – Matthew 4

  1. Erica Reinmiller says:

    I am picturing that when Jesus answered with the Scriptures, it was a quick answer without any delay, which amazes me. To know God’s word so well and be so confident in it is really impressive and this passage inspires me to devote more of my time to readin, understanding, and remembering Scripture.

    Having done a Bible study at my job on the story of Jesus Chooses Some Followers, many of the people in the Bible study were so impressed with how Simon and Andrew immediately left their work and their father, without ever questioning, but fully trusting. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and busy work, how many of us would drop everything we were doing and leave our family to follow?

    • kcooper says:

      A couple thoughts on your comment, which I so appreciate. Don’t forget that Satan also used Scripture as a means to state his case. This has been done throughout history with Hitler and the Lutheran Church, Apartheid South Africa and the Presbyterian Church, the KKK and their use of Scripture and the list is long and shameful. Knowing and understanding Scripture is key, but using it for the sake of the kingdom of God, and not our own motives and agenda, is probably even more important.

      • Erica Reinmiller says:

        Yes, a great point indeed! Inspired to use the Scripture for the sake of the kingdom of God, not for our own motives or agenda. It is a shame that people can get so lost in and of this world that even such a powerful thing as God’s word can be used in such horrible manners.

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