Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how strong the temptation would be. He had been fasting for 40 days and nights. By the time he becme hungry, his body was urgently telling him that, unless fed very soon, he would die. What is the first temptation? Food. Yet the temptation is more than just a temptation to eat. That’s trivial. Satan is also implying that it would be a good idea for Jesus to make food for the whole world, for always, from rocks, something which even the poorest parts of the world possess in abundance. Likewise, in the second temptation, wouldn’t it be nice, not only for Jesus to live on, unharmed, no matter what he does, but to share that with the whole world? And in the third temptation, Satan promises Jesus the whole world in exchange for worship.
In all three temptations, Jesus uses the Scripture to set the record straight. It is God’s word, identified elsewhere as Jesus himself, which brings life. It isn’t all about food. Food will keep you for a while. God’s Word will keep you forever. As to eternal life and health, again it is a matter of trust in God, not a matter of doing something rash. Satan comes to kill. Jesus comes to give life. Those who die in Christ are not eternally dead. It is not a matter of throwing ourselves off the temple or doing some other act to test God. No, he has already made us secure. The kingdoms of this world are Jesus’ already. He bows to nobody. If he were to bow down to worship Satan he would cease to be the true God.
It is as Jesus overcomes these temptations that we can also see ourselves rescued through temptations. We likewise can hold to God’s word, trust that Jesus is the one who gives everlasting life, and realize that he is the true and living God who holds all creation in his mighty hand. This is life indeed.
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