Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Temptation of Jesus: Part 2 of 4

As we continue our study on, The Temptation of Jesus (Edward Sri's study on the Gospel of Matthew, Mystery of the Kingdom), we are now going to take a closer look at His first temptation in the desert.

Israel's first test. The first of Israel's trials involved hunger. In the Book of Exodus we can all recall when Moses parted the Red Sea and led all the Israelites away from bondage and into the desert. The Israelites celebrated their new found freedom as they were no longer slaves of Pharaoh. However, they soon faced their first problem: Where would they find food in the desert? How were they going to eat? Their rejoicing quickly turned into panic. We might of expected Israel to trust in God to provide, instead we see the people turned against Moses, saying "You have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger" (Ex 16:3). Israel's failure: Not trusting the Father.

Sri now looks at Jesus' first test. Similarly, we all know that Jesus also faced hunger in His first temptation with the devil. The devil wanted Jesus to use His power as the Son of God to break His forty days of fasting. You see, the Father sent the Spirit to lead Jesus into the desert to pray and fast for forty days, for Jesus to turn the stones into bread would be to exercise His messianic authority for His own self interest and thus depart from the Father's will. Now, remember Israel's failure of not trusting the Father, well Jesus does not waver from trusting the Father. In fact, He quotes Deuteronomy 8:3 (a passage that brings to mind the story of Israel's first test), saying "Man shall not live by bread alone" (Mt. 4:4). Jesus overcomes the first major fall of Israel in the desert.

[1] Exodus 16:3
[2] Deuteronomy 8:3
[3] Matthew 4:4
[4] Mystery of the Kingdom. Edward Sri

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