Thursday, January 28, 2016

Daily Devotional: January 28

Day Four, The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 4

Today's reading has one of the weirdest stories in the Scriptures. Jesus is led by God into the wilderness to be prepared for ministry. After Jesus spends 40 days wandering and fasting, "the tempter" comes to test Him. The exchange we see between the devil and Jesus is extremely interesting and important for Matthew. 

We always want more. We always want acclaim. We always want Power.

The first temptation is the most simple. Matthew makes the statement "After 40 days and 40 nights of fasting, he then became hungry." Understandable, considering I can barely miss lunch without becoming a monster. This temptation isn't saying that eating bread is bad, nor is it saying that Christ couldn't use his power over Creation to make himself food. What Jesus is being tempted with is simple disobedience. The Spirit led him into the desert to fast, and if He were to break this fast early, He would be disobedient to the Spirit. Jesus trusted that God would provide a meal for Him when the time came. 

Too often we give up on great to get more of good. We pass up on something that would require us to trust beyond our comfort level, in order to get more of something cheap. 

We always want more. We always want acclaim. We always want power.

Many Rabbis around the time Jesus was born speculated that when Messiah came, he would land on the roof of the temple, announcing himself to the world. Jesus would have known this theory. The devil is tempting Jesus with acclaim. Do something amazing, Jesus, and the world will know who you are. Jesus trusts the plan of God. Again, he retreats from temptation into courageous trust in a plan He knows will be dangerous.

We always want more. We always want acclaim. We always want power.

The last temptation of Christ is terrifying to consider. In it, the devil offers the kingdoms of the world to Christ if he will just worship Satan once. Does this mean the devil has control of all the kingdoms of the world? Or is he lying? Either way, Christ's triumph comes again from a place of complete trust in God's plan. Sure, he could issue a Kingdom of God if He were to take the deal and become ruler of all the kingdoms of the world, but it wasn't the path He was meant to take.

Christ's ability to trust comes from a place of communion with the Father, but also from something else. He is the ultimate example of contentment. He doesn't want more, he doesn't need acclaim, and he isn't thirsty for power. Jesus is merely content with where He is, with who He is, and with the path God wants Him to take. 

Spend time in silence. Ask for Grace for where you don't trust completely. Soak in the Grace given to you. 

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.