May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Brothers and sisters . . . Be joyful and happy. Grow to maturity in Christ. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet each other warmly with Christian love. . . . May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 

2 Corinthians 13:11-12, 14

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God’s Scriptures

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil (tempter). 2 For forty days and forty nights He fasted and became very hungry. 3 During that time the devil came and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But Jesus told him (devil), “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5 Then the devil took Him (Jesus) to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, 6 and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order His angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you will not even hurt your foot on a stone.’” 7 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God.’” 8 Next the devil took Him (Jesus) to the peak of a very high mountain and showed Him the kingdoms of the world and all their glory. 9 “I will give it all to You,” he said, “if You will kneel down and worship me.” 10 “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the LORD your God and serve only Him.’” 11 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. Matthew 4:1-11 (NLT)

After His baptism, Jesus left the crowds surrounding John the Baptist in the Jordan Valley, and the Holy Spirit led Him into the solitary wilderness to be tempted and tested. Both Jesus’ baptism and the wilderness temptation are closely connected. Jesus’ baptism and the temptation are in the desert (Matthew 3:1; Matthew 4:1). Furthermore, Jesus’ baptism and wilderness temptation focus on Jesus as the Son of the living God (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 4:3, 6) and emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16; Matthew 4:1).

Jesus’ experience of forty days in the wilderness corresponds to Israel’s experience of forty years of testing in the wilderness desert (Matthew 4:2; see also Deuteronomy 8:1-5, 16). Like Israel of old after passing through the Red Sea (Exodus 15:22), Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness after His baptism in the water (Matthew 4:1-2). However, during Israel’s time in the wilderness testing, the people continually grumbled and complained against the living God and turned toward disobedience and unfaithfulness (e.g., see Exodus 15:24; Exodus 16:2; Exodus 17:3; Numbers 14). Despite numerous proofs of God’s power and glory, the ancient Israelites rebelled, disobeyed, and did not trust God’s provision. Because of Israel’s disobedience and unfaithfulness, the Lord God was angry with that ancient Israelite generation, and they did not see God’s rest (see Psalm 95:7-11; 1 Corinthians 10:9).

Fortunately, Jesus succeeded where Israel of old failed. During the time of wilderness temptation and suffering, Jesus continually trusted in God and the leading of His Spirit, despite difficult circumstances. Jesus revealed He was the true Son of God who was faithful and obedient to God and His Word despite suffering and temptation (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10). When tempted by evil, Jesus responded with three quotations from Deuteronomy linking His experience to Israel’s experience in the desert (Matthew 4:4, 7; 10; Deuteronomy 6:13, 16; Deuteronomy 8:3). As Jesus revealed, if we will resist evil and temptation and continually trust and worship God, evil will always flee (Matthew 4:10; see also James 4:7-8). Jesus resisted evil by standing firm on God’s Word, setting an example for His followers (see also Ephesians 4:27; Ephesians 6:11; 1 Peter 5:6-9). Jesus learned that God would provide all He needed (Matthew 4:11).

Jesus’ temptation and suffering revealed His divinity and humanity (Matthew 4:2). In the wilderness, Jesus was tempted and suffered like all humans (Matthew 4:2), and He experienced the same weakness and fears as all humans (e.g., see Isaiah 53:3). However, Jesus never sinned against God (see Hebrews 4:15-16; Hebrews 7:26; 1 John 3:4-5). Thus, Jesus secured all humankind’s salvation and redemption by wholeheartedly obeying God. As the Representative for all who believe and trust in Him, Jesus fulfilled all righteousness on behalf of His people (Matthew 3:15; see also Romans 8:3-4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is our sinless Savior (1 Peter 2:22)! Because Jesus has suffered when tempted, He can help those who are being tempted to remain faithful to God (see Hebrews 2:18).

During Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, Jesus was empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16; Matthew 4:1; see also Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1; Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38). Followers of Jesus are also to be empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit (see e.g. James 1:2-5; Galatians 5:16-18, 22-23). Jesus defeated evil by using a weapon that everyone has at their disposal: “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17; see also Hebrews 4:12). God’s Word brings life, wisdom, and blessings (see e.g. Deuteronomy 4:5-6; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:46-47; Luke 11:28; 2 Timothy 3:15-16).

10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness (Jesus). 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 18Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)

New Student Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992).
ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008).
Zondervan NIV Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
Kingsbury, Jack. Matthew As Story (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1988).
Ross, Mark E. Let’s Study Matthew (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2009).

CHURCH MINUTE Online Bible Study Ministry

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