THOUGHTS FROM MATTHEW

January 13

Text: Matthew 4:1

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (NASB)

This is the introduction to Jesusí wilderness temptations recorded in Matthew 4:1-11.  It could properly be considered Jesusí final preparation before beginning his ministry.  Before the rigorous challenges of his ministry to people began, Jesus had to know without doubt the level of his commitment to doing Godís will.  There should not be an indecisive moment at the time of a temptation.

This was Satanís opportunity to negate Jesusí ministry.  If his assault on Jesus was successful, Jesusí ministry would not occur.  Satan would defeat Godís purposes in Jesus in a preemptive strike!  He would not need defensive efforts if Jesusí ministry never occurred!  All people would be his!

The issue was this.  God knew what Jesus' purpose was.  Satan knew what Jesus' purpose was.  However, did Jesus understand what his purpose was?  There is intent, and there is the cost of the intent.  Through these temptations Jesus came face to face in extremely personal terms with the actual cost of the intent.  The issue was not did Jesus intend to Godís will, but was he willing to pay the price for doing Godís will.  There is a significant difference in intent without understanding the costs, and intent with a full understanding of the costs.

God did not send Jesus into the wilderness to fail!  God knew Jesus successfully could face Satanís best efforts!  God had confidence in Jesus!  Did that mean Jesus would not suffer?  No!  It meant Jesus understood his commitment was worth the cost of suffering.

God also has confidence in what He did through Jesus for us.  Does that mean Satan will not cause us suffering?  No! The issue for us: do we have confidence in what God did for us through Jesus?

Suggestion for reflection: Do you understand the cost of your spiritual intent?  Does your behavior verify you will pay it?  (Read 2 Peter 2:9 and 1 Corinthians 10:13.)

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