The Temptation Stories 1

Today's Bible reading: Matthew 4:1-11

After Jesus’ baptism, He is immediately sent out into the wilderness … where He is tempted by the devil.  The temptation stories - which are only found in the first three gospels - perfectly show how each Gospel is to be read for its own special emphasis.  They again show how little the evangelists are interested in simply recording history.  They interpret … and they preach a message of faith in the Lord.

Matthew’s version should be read with the background in mind of that other “sons” testing in the wilderness – that of Israel!  Thus, Jesus’ fasting for 40 days and 40 nights recalls the hardship of Israel for 40 years, when it was tempted through hunger to reject God – and fell to the temptation.  It should also be noted that Jesus answers to the devil’s taunts are all quotations from Holy Scripture, in particular from Deuteronomy –  the record of Moses preaching in the wilderness.  Unlike Israel, this Son is obedient – He refuses to doubt the goodness of His Father or put Him on trial.  Nor will He grasp at an easy kingdom for Himself.

Prayer: Mighty Hero, though devils fill the world, we do not fear because You have won the victory.  Amen.