In the stories of Jesus’ baptism and temptation we find Jesus one minute being lavished with His Father’s affirmation and the next being driven into the isolation of the Judean wilderness for the primary purpose of being tempted by the devil. Matthew is very clear about it. It was the Holy Spirit who led Jesus there. He didn’t just get lost or wander over. Jesus responded with His conventional posture of surrender and obedience. He understood that this trial and temptation was not, somehow, God’s punishment. It was God’s process for Jesus to grow in faith and perseverance.
Read Matthew 4:1-11. To help get a good understanding of the passage, try to describe what is happening or being said in your own words. Take a moment to reflect and note down what stands out as important, significant or meaningful to you. What does this passage tell us about God? What does this passage tell us about people? How does this passage change how we live?
1. Read Matthew 4:1-11 again. What was at stake when Jesus was tempted?
2. Why do we tend to minimise what is at stake when we are tempted?
3. Can you think of any examples in your life when your response to temptation impacted your future?
4. How have you seen the response of someone to temptation impact the lives of others?
5. How does temptation affect your faith?
6. How does it help to keep the consequences in mind when you are faced with temptation?
When faced with temptation this week, commit to pausing and saying the following statement: “Temptation, you’re not going to steal my future. You’re not going to steal my family. You’re not going to steal my faith.” Take time in the moment to reflect about what really is at stake.