Gospel: Matthew 4:1-11
Epistle: Romans 5:12-19
Lesson: Genesis 3:1-21
Psalm: Psalm 32:1-7
CLB Pastors Network – Rev. Harland Helland
This is a great text that deals with one of man’s serious problems. It not only reminds us of the power of temptation but brings us into the marvelous strength and hope that is ours by faith in and through the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s way is love and faith. Christ had a greater plan in mind than just providing bread to the whole world or performing a great miracle or becoming the ruler over the entire world. Christ knew that these things were human and would eventually pass away. He had come to deal with sin in order that man could by faith receive forgiveness and become a child of God and heir to all God possesses for this life and the life to come. Christ wanted to work out our salvation and to provide power and strength that we should walk with God in love through faith (Hebrews 4:13-16). This text also warns us about the temptation of the devil when he comes to us in times of human weakness. Christ had been in the wilderness for 40 days. He was lonely, hungry and tired.
It is at times like this I find myself open to discouragement, especially when these conditions lead me away from the things of God, His word, prayer, His love, and joy. How I thank the Lord that He knows all about it and promises to grant us special strength and grace for these periods in our life. What a source of comfort to know that there is not a temptation we face that the Lord Jesus Christ does not understand, and He has the power to deliver us if we, by faith, seek Him (Hebrews 2:17-18). I thank God that He not only saved me but gives me strength to live for Him as a child of God and co-worker in His Kingdom.
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
“The point of each temptation must be determined by closely examining both the temptation and Jesus’ response. This clearly shows that this first temptation was no simple incitement to use improper means of making bread, or an attempt to use a miracle to prove to himself that he was really God’s Son, or to act alone without thought of others; it was a temptation to use his sonship in a way inconsistent with his God-ordained mission. The same taunt, ‘If you are the Son of God,’ is hurled at him in 27:40, when for him to have left the cross would have annulled the purpose of his coming.”
Carson, D.A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.
The NIV Application Commentary – Matthew
“Satan is trying to get Jesus to test his Father in two ways. (1) By intentionally putting himself in harm’s way, Jesus would be inappropriately testing his Father’s love, trying to manipulate him to send a rescuing force of angels. True faith asks no such demands. (2) If Jesus were to cast himself off the high place of the temple and the angels rescued him, think of the reaction of the people! Such a spectacular display would gain Jesus a messianic following, but not by the Father’s pathway – obediently proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and suffering whatever consequences may come.”
Wilkins, M.J., The NIV Application Commentary – Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.
Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel
“The whole proposition is false from beginning to end. Satan does not bow before God in worship as Jesus is to bow before Satan. Satan has not received the kingdoms from God, he rules them as the enemy of God, as a rebel against God, as a usurper whom God is dethroning through Jesus. By the one act of worship Jesus would also become a rebel against God and at the same time a tool of Satan. The kingdoms and their glory, promised to Jesus by Satan would remain Satan’s. The transfer would be an illusion. Instead of being a King, Jesus would be a slave of Satan. The way in which Satan tried to buy Jesus is the way in which he bought Eve… It may seem foolish on Satan’s part to offer such a temptation to Jesus and to think that Jesus might be caught thus. But after succeeding with his proffers to other men in thousands of instances, Satan felt that this man Jesus would certainly succumb to an offer that was more magnificent than any he had ever made. The author of all evil lies most completely under the blinding power of evil. As men, when they are submerged in sin, lose all moral judgment, so by his fall Satan lost all sense of righteousness and truth and moves only in absolute, moral darkness.”
Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943.