Theme of the Week: Redefining Greatness
Bible Verse: “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 ESV
Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:1-11
Just before Jesus entered his public ministry, he spent forty days alone in the desert, seeking his Father in heaven, praying and fasting. At the end of that time, the Gospels tell us that the devil approached Jesus and said, “You look like you’ve lost weight (a modern paraphrase). Why don’t you turn these stones into bread?” Part of the temptation, of course, was for Jesus to satiate his hunger pangs, but part of the temptation was surely to get Jesus to define himself by what he could produce—by his success.
Jesus responded by saying, “It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Next, the devil came to Jesus and gave him a whirlwind tour of the planet, showing him all its wealth and splendor. He said, “Jesus, if you will bow down to me just once, I will give you the kingdoms of this world. I will give you the biggest platform ever.” Jesus responded by saying, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Jesus responded by saying, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”
Finally, the devil said to Jesus, “If you really are the Son of God, go to the highest point on the temple of Jerusalem, stand on its pinnacle for dramatic effect, and then leap off the top. Will not your Father in heaven dispatch an angel to swoop down and pick you up in its arms before your feet strike the ground? It will be spectacular. It will ‘wow’ everyone—what a way to begin your ministry!” Jesus responded, “It is written: Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”
Jesus resists and rejects the temptation to be defined by his success, to create the largest possible platform, and to do the spectacular. Instead, he chooses to live not for the praise of people but for the praise of God, his Father, alone (Matthew 4:1–11).
Taken from Survival Guide for the Soul by Ken Shigematsu, Copyright © 2018 by Ken Shigematsu. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com
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