February 22

February 22, 2021
By: Pastor Jonna Bohigian

Temptation and Belovedness 

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.’”

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 command his angels concerning 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 put the Lord your God to the test.’” 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 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 were ministering to him. – Matthew 4:1-11

The passage of Jesus’ temptation in the Gospel of Matthew is so rich that we can’t cover everything in one devotion, but we will spend a few moments exploring the broad brush strokes. First, let’s take a look at what comes immediately before the temptation – Jesus’ baptism. Before Jesus begins his ministry, he is baptized by his cousin, John. When Jesus comes out of the water, a voice from heaven says, “‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus receives the gift of the Holy Spirit and is affirmed by his Father. He is God’s beloved Son, and the Father is pleased with him.

Then, Matthew writes that Jesus is led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted, or tested, by the devil (Matthew 4:1). Jesus’ temptation is no fluke, no accident. Jesus is commissioned for ministry, fasts forty days and forty nights, and is tested. Verse 2 says that Jesus is hungry. And his first temptation is to relieve his hunger. Jesus passes the first test. Then, he is tempted to make a spectacle of himself, to be greatly esteemed. He passes the second test. Then, he is tempted with power. He passes the third test.

Jesus passes each test, knowing that his ministry will not be about satisfying himself. His ministry is not about his survival, gaining esteem, or increasing in power – all things he could have gained by obeying the voice of the devil. His ministry is about following the voice of his Father and bringing Him glory. Jesus passes these tests, because he knows Who his ministry is about and he knows Whose he is. He is the beloved Son of God. He is accepted and approved by his Father.

As Christians, this is our great invitation and challenge – to listen for and to trust the voice which calls us beloved sons and daughters of God, and to live lives which flow from that confidence. Like Jesus, you and I do not have anything to prove to our Father; we are sons and daughters of God, given life to glorify Him.

Receive this blessing: You are a beloved son, you are a beloved daughter of God, in whom He is well pleased. May your life spring forth in abundance from His love, that you give glory to your Father in heaven. Amen.


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