Matthew 4:1-11 : Identity from Temptation - Simon S

Simon asks how we should learn from the Temptations of Jesus. What should we make of this teaching? In Exodus we read that Israel set apart to show the world who their father is so that the nations would come to know their father too by the way they lived to a light to the nations around them. When tests and temptations come would they resemble the character of their father. Will they look like God or betray their sonship? Jesus himself enters into history to show us who the Father.

Ch 4 is a spiritual battle. Satan is tempting God’s son to betray his identity of looking like God and his mission. Who are you going to be and what will you do to accomplish your mission. 

3 ways of accomplishing His mission to become King.

Test 1: in the wilderness. Jesus body and mind weakened. Reminds him of his human needs. Who are you…are you the son of God really?  How are you going to be the Messiah? Are you going to use your power for yourself. If you did you would be so popular. A short cut to the throne. Will you indulge your power? asks Satan. Jesus does not indulge his power for his needs.

Test 2: The temple, the place of worship. At the top where all the faithful Jews will be. If you are the Son of God then put on a show. Jesus, will you manipulate the crowd into believing in you?. Jesus resists because this is not what God is like. He will not manipulate his identity.

3rd way. I will give you all of it. The king who takes rather than the servant who would give. A jewish Alexander. A military shortcut to the throne. Jesus will you force them? Will you bow down and worship and betray his identity? God is not like that. God does not abuse power like we do. Kingdoms already belong to him. What kind of messiah are you going to be? All quotes from Deuteronomy.

If you are unfaithful and betray your identity then there will be consequences. The way of Jesus is the way of the cross, self giving love, humble service, sacrificial suffering because this is what God is like, this is who he is. He gave up his life so we can find it in Him. The God who meets us in Jesus. No crown with out a cross.

In the face of temptation we will be asked who we are and how we will accomplish our mission. Through out Church history we have not resisted satan. We play the power game to coerce people into the kingdom. We can wish that the message to share is more palatable or more wonders to display. But that is not what God is really like.