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Daily Reading: 25th June 2016

Matthew 4.1-3 cont.

1 Then Jesus was led up into the wilderness by the Spirit, to be tempted by the devil.

2 And afterwards, having fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. 

3 And the tempter, approaching said to Him: “If You are the Son of God tell to these stones to become loaves of bread.”

There are occasions in our life when we may be the only person who is a witness to something, or it may be that when something happens to us there is no one else around to see what occurred.

This was obviously true regarding the temptations of Jesus by the devil. There was no other human being around to witness what happened.

In the light of this some suggest that the temptations that Jesus underwent are a myth. However, that is to be discounted since both Matthew and Luke are dealing with facts derived from different sources.

Others suggest that Matthew and Luke were able to relate the temptations of Jesus because the accounts were delivered to them by divine revelation. This, though possible, is not likely since both of them clearly state the occasions when angels bring revelations to various ones.

Therefore, it is clear that Matthew received what he wrote direct from the lips of Jesus; and Luke would have delved into the authenticity of the accounts as part of his desire to write an accurate account of the life of Jesus.

It is interesting for us to consider the meaning of the word ‘tempt’.

Our understanding of ‘tempt’ is of someone trying to lead someone else into evil ways, and to lead them away from the ways of God. This is true. However, the Greek meaning also means to test someone to see if they are genuine, or to see if they are ready for a certain task.

Throughout my adult life I have undergone a number of exams and tests to see if I was knowledgeable enough to be given authority to do a particular job.

Most of us go through a driving test. It is not a temptation, but it is a test to ascertain if we are competent enough in driving to be allowed to drive on our own.

There is a sense in which the Holy Spirit led Jesus to be tested by the devil so that He could display His readiness for the work of saving sinners, to show His steadfastness in remaining true to His Father, and to show the devil that he had no power over Him.

It will help us to see that sometimes when we feel we are being tempted it may be that instead we are being tested for another advancement in our service for Jesus.

 

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