Thursday, October 04, 2012

October 4, 2012 … Doing Battle With Temptation

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 278

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Matthew, Chapter 4 To study these chapters, go to this link -
Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Luke, Chapter 4-5 To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Matthew 4: 1-11; 23-25 : [NLT] … {Jesus is confronted by Satan in the wilderness when he’s hungry and tired; and Satan uses all three of his primary tools of temptation against the Son of God, the same ones he used against Eve first and then Adam and the same one mentioned in 1st John 2: 15-16, the list of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. He even tried to use God’s word against the Living Word, Jesus. But all was to no avail for Satan against the Savior because in each instance of temptation, Jesus used God’s sword of the Spirit, i.e., His word, to thwart Satan’s taunts; and when all of Satan’s weapons are played out, he had to flee the field of battle.} 1 Then Jesus was led out into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted there by the Devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he ate nothing and became very hungry. 3 Then the Devil£ came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, change these stones into loaves of bread.” 4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People need more than bread for their life; they must feed on every word of God.’” [Deut. 8: 3] 5 Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He orders his angels to protect you. And they will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.’” [Ps. 91: 11-12] 7Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’” [Deut. 6: 16] 8 Next the Devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him the nations of the world and all their glory. 9 “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will only kneel down and worship me.” 10“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God; serve only Him.’” [Deut. 6: 13] 11 Then the Devil went away, and angels came and cared for Jesus.  
{Following the temptation scene, Matthew describes Jesus moving on to began his adult ministry by settling in a strategic town, like Capernaum, choosing His inner core of disciples, and venturing out into Galilee to do what God, the Father laid before His Son to accomplish. See Matthew 4: 12-25] 23 Jesus traveled throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues, preaching everywhere the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed people who had every kind of sickness and disease. 24 News about him spread far beyond the borders of Galilee so that the sick were soon coming to be healed from as far away as Syria. And whatever their illness and pain, or if they were possessed by demons, or were epileptics, or were paralyzed — he healed them all. 25 Large crowds followed him wherever he went—people from Galilee, the Ten Towns, Jerusalem, from all over Judea, and from east of the Jordan River.
Highlight Passage: Luke 4: 1-13; 18-21; 42-44 : [NLT] … {This is Luke’s version of the same scene in Matthew 4 with Jesus dealing with Satan trying to tempt Him in the wilderness. I’ll leave it to the reader to use the appropriate link above to tread this scene in Luke 4: 1-13 } 1 Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit to go out into the wilderness,…  
{One special scenario occurred when Jesus visited the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. And here we read of Jesus revealing Himself as the One about Whom Isaiah had prophesied over 700 years earlier. This was the beginning of the confrontation with the religious leaders in those days.}16 When He came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. 17 The scroll containing the messages of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he unrolled the scroll to the place where it says: [Jesus reads from Isaiah 61: 1-2] … 20 He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. Everyone in the synagogue stared at him intently. 21 Then he said, “This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!” ...
{As with Matthew, following the story of the confrontation with Satan, Luke, but with somewhat more historical detail, gives an account of Jesus’ early ministry. } 42 Early the next morning [after a confrontation with demons] Jesus went out into the wilderness. The crowds searched everywhere for him, and when they finally found him, they begged him not to leave them. 43 But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other places, too, because that is why I was sent.” 44 So he continued to travel around, preaching in synagogues throughout Judea. … 
Highlight Passage: Luke 5 8-11; : [NLT] … {In Jesus’ early ministry, He was preaching, healing, and allowing others to see what He was all about, as He had stated (above in Luke 4: 18=19). And slowly as he walked in ministry with His disciples, they began to recognize the reality of His role as Messiah and Lord.} 8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened [recognizing that it was Jesus who miraculously had brought about the catching of a boatload of fish], he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me — I’m too much of a sinner to be around you.” 9 For he was awestruck by the size of their catch, as were the others with him. 10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed. Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” 11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.…
{I’ll leave it to any readers here to read through Luke 5 and see Jesus revealing Himself to others, even men like Matthew, a tax-collector, whom Jesus called to be His follower. And, as He walked the countryside, He healed the sick, and preached His good news message of deliverance through repentance and faith.}

Cross Reference Passage: 1st John 2: 15-16 : [NLT] …{Note that the temptations mentioned in this passage are the same as those faced by Jesus in the scenario of Matthew 4 and Luke 4. All sin can be broken into these three categories … the same ones faced by Adam/Eve in the garden.} 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.  
Cross Reference Passage: Psalm 119: 9, 11 : [NLT] …{God’s prescription for dealing with sin in our lives..} 9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules.. … 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.. 

My Journal for Today: Well, this morning I was led to drink from God’s well of truth in another of those “big-gulp” doses. Reading and meditating from Matthew 4 and Luke 4-5 takes me into some of my favorite teaching passages in the New Testament.

First there is the parallel stories in Matthew 4: 1-12 and Luke 4: 1-13, where Jesus is confronted by Satan in the wilderness with three specific temptations; and don’t you just love it when Satan even tries to use God’s word, in a distortion of truth, against the living Word and the living Truth; … Duh!!! But these passages teach us valuable and powerful lessons for dealing with life, don’t they? … First, we know that we are going to be confronted by the same temptations Satan always uses (see 1st John 2: 15-16 quoted above, the same temptations he even used against Adam and Eve, … the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. But these passages also teach us that when we use God’s word, as the sword of the Spirit, in our battles against the temptations used by Satan, we can defeat him EVERY TIME (see also Psalm 119: 9-11, copied above)! That’s why I’m so big on getting God’s word deeply into our hearts, as followers of Jesus, so that we can capture the power of God’s grace to defeat the enemy, who will always come at us in our spots of greatest weakness. If using God’s word to combat the enemy when he tempts us was Jesus’ strategy, that’s good enough for me. … What about you?

Then, in Luke 4: 18-21, I also love the story of Jesus being called upon, in his hometown Synagogue, to read the prescribed scripture of the day, which turned out to be from Isaiah 61: 1-2, where the mission of Messiah was foretold by the great Prophet, Isaiah. And Jesus turned those Jews upside down that day by declaring that those words were fulfilled in their hearing in that very reading. What Jesus was saying, especially to the religious leaders of His day, “I am He,” the One Whom the Prophet spoke of in that passage. Jesus was declaring, that very day, His own mission statement. And Wow; … that’s a biggie! And there are people even today who are trying to deny that He’s the One to fulfill that mission? But you and I know He’s THE ONE, don’t we?

There’s a lot of truth and life lessons to take in from this reading today; and I hope it is as edifying and encouraging for you, by the teaching and enlightenment of God’s Spirit, as it has been for me.

My Prayer Today: … Lord, thank You for re-revealing Yourself to me through the accounts of Your Gospel writers. Amen

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