BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 4, Day 4: Matthew 4:1-11

Summary of passage:  Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.  He fasted for 40 days and nights and the tempter told him to turn stones to bread.  Jesus said he only needed the word of God to live.  The tempter took him to the highest point of the temple and told him to jump.  Jesus said not to test God.

The devil offered him to rule the world if he only would worship him.  Jesus told him to go away for only God deserves to be worshipped.  Angels came to him afterwards.

Questions:

6a)  Satan suggested that Jesus perform a miracle to satisfy his human need to eat by turning stones to bread (verse 3).   Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to resist.

Satan suggested that Jesus test God’s word by jumping from the temple and having the angels catch him (verse 6).  Jesus quoted Psalm 91:11-12 to resist.

Satan appealed to human pride by telling Jesus he could have all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor if he’d bow and worship him (verse 8-9).  Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13 to resist.

b)  Satan appealed to the needs of the flesh in terms of eating.  Jesus says all we need for bread is God’s word.

Jumping off the roof of the temple would be a sensational act, one that would attract huge amounts of attention.  Further, this would test God, something we are never to do.  This was the test of pride.

The third temptation was an attempt to get Jesus to skip the cross and have all the kingdoms of the world, which Jesus gained anyways when he died for us.  And Satan wanted Jesus to worship him.  Jesus gained the world as we will as well when we die and are granted eternal life without giving into earthly, material desires.

c)  God’s word should be more precious to us than bread.  We need Him more than we need to eat.  Jesus was also being tested to use his gifts from God for selfish purposes.  We face this all the time especially in the media and with celebrities.  We see those with enormous talent fall flat and waste God’s gift that could have been used to advance His kingdom as they fall further and further into sin and the ways of this world.  Jesus would not perform a miracle just because he could.

How many times have we asked God for a miraculous sign only to come up empty-handed?  That’s not to say we can’t ask for miracles in our lives.  But we can’t ask for miracles just for the sake of a miracle that has no purpose.  This is an attempt to seek approval from not only God but also from others.  God has given us his greatest act of external love we need to see–Jesus on the cross.  We should demand nothing else from God.

How many times have we worshipped false idols instead of the One, True God?  Here, the devil is a false-idol, desperate for your attention.  The devil will offer us our deepest desires if we only turn away from God.  Any material, earthly thing we want, the devil will grant us if we sin enough.  Literature is filled with allusions of selling our soul to the devil for such things as eternal life, gold, etc.  Stories such as Dante’s Divine Comedy, King Midas, The Chronicles of Narnia come to mind.

The devil will promise us the world if we worship him.  Jesus says defiantly “No!”

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We will not be tempted beyond what we can bear and every temptation has a way out.  God closes doors on paths He doesn’t want us to take.  My temptations are daily to sin in small ways but they are big to me.  Yet, I know I have a way out.  Often to not say discouraging words or to be kind instead of mean to others.  To offer help when all I want to do is walk away.  To give of my time which I am very selfish about.  To put others first.  To care more than I’d like to.

In essence, that I can overcome my human nature to be more like Jesus.

7a)  Angels came and attended Jesus (scholars says this means brought him food).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There is no guilt when we resist temptation.  In fact, we are strengthened.  We become a bit more like Jesus and it shows to all.  I just feel better about myself as a whole when I deny the flesh and the lies and seek His truth instead–when I do do what Jesus would do.

Conclusions:  Through temptation number 3, we learn that Satan does have authority and dominion over this world. It was originally given to Adam (Genesis 1:28-30) but he gave it to Satan when he let him into the world.  2 Corinthians 4:4 reminds us that the devil if only of this age, not of heaven.

There is not a better example in the Bible of overcoming temptation that Jesus’ example.  Great study and analysis of pulling out all the tactics the devil uses (basically lies and deceit) and focusing on our weapons (the Truth of God’s word and ways) that will set us free if embraced.  So embrace it today!

It offers us encouragement and I’m glad we studied this at the beginning of the year as I for one needed it!

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