Matthew – Day 10 – Temptation

 In Bible Studies, The Book of Matthew

lease begin by reading the Shema out loud and continue trying to memorize it.

“Hear, O Israel. The LORD is our God. The LORD alone. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Amen.”

On Day 9, we looked at the “reset pattern” found in the Old Testament:

  • Chaos Existed (Represented by Water)
  • Spirit Hovered Over the Chaos
  • New Creation Emerges
  • Shalom (Order) Returns
  • Testing Occurs
  • Chaos Returns/Punishment Results

We then looked at how that pattern was repeated in the baptism of Jesus. Today we will pick up at the conclusion of Jesus’ baptism where He was led into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).

The great teachers (rabbis) during Jesus’ day used a technique that was later called remez. In their teaching, they would use a part of a Scripture passage in a discussion, assuming that their audience’s knowledge of the Bible (usually by memory) would allow them to find a fuller meaning of the teaching. When looking for a remez, you read the verses before or possibly after the quoted verse. As a general practice in reading the Gospels, it is good to look at every scripture quoted by Jesus from the Jewish Bible to see if it is fulfilled prophecy, a new look at an old teaching, or possibly a remez.

Read Matthew 4:1-4 (out loud).

Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3. Let’s take a look at the scripture before as well as the one Jesus quoted (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). This makes it very clear that there is a similarity between the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years and Jesus fasting in the desert for 40 days. Why does the scripture say that God led them all the way into the desert? “To humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep the commandments.” Jesus is well aware that this temptation from Satan is His time to show what was in His heart.

[As a side note, the number 40 symbolizes a time of complete testing in the Jewish world. There are more than ten different times in scripture when people did something involving the number 40. Tuck that tidbit into the back of your brain for the next time you come across the number 40 in scripture.]

Read Matthew 4:5-7 (out loud).

Now the devil quotes scripture, Psalm 91:11-12. Back up and read Psalm 91:9-13. Jesus knows all of this scripture – not just the part that Satan quotes. He is reminded that if He makes the Most High His dwelling place, then no harm will come to Him (v. 9-10). He is also reminded that He will trample the serpent (v.13). Wait! Who is the serpent? Satan!! Satan isn’t very good at this remez game!

Jesus responds with Deuteronomy 6:16. Read Deuteronomy 6:14-17. This statement shows that Jesus recognizes Satan’s desire to be a god. Jesus receives encouragement to keep the commandments of God here in the middle of this temptation. Ironically, this also prepares him for the next temptation.

Read Matthew 4:8-11 (out loud).

Jesus goes back to the scripture quoted previously and quotes the earlier verse (Deut 6:13) since Satan did not get the remez message clearly – “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

Finally, the devil gets the message:

  • Jesus has been tested
  • He has shown what was in His heart
  • He has kept the commandments

Satan leaves Jesus until an “opportune time” according to Luke 4:13. Jesus’ time with Satan isn’t finished… this was just round one.

Ray Vander Laan – That the World May Know

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Matthew Bible Study Series Day 9