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First Tuesday

LISTEN

READ
Matthew 4:1-11

CONTEMPLATE
Welcome to Lent meditation and worship with Westside church. During this Lenten season, meet us here each day as we read scripture, worship and rest in the presence of God together. Know that as you listen today, you are doing so with others whether in the same space as you or not, and we pray that the Holy Spirit permeates the places we each find ourselves in right now. 

Let us start today by clearing our minds and opening our hearts and minds to what the Lord wants to speak to us through His word today. Take a deep breath in and out. And another in and out.

In Matthew 3 we are privy to this beautiful exchange between God the Father and Jesus. As Jesus is baptized by John, the heavens open and God calls from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love; and with him I am well-pleased.” Jesus hadn’t completed his mission on earth yet, he hadn’t worked any miracles. He just grew up, lived life, learned the ways of being a good Jewish boy. And yet, God reminds Jesus of who he is and whose he is. This launches Jesus into 40 days in the wilderness, alone, hungry, tired and ripe for the enemy’s lure. In Matthew 4 we read the story of Jesus and the enemy battling it out as the enemy tries to get Jesus to slip up.

Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.

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.”

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
    ‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him 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 won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’”

Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’”

Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
    ‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’”

Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.

We meet Jesus in the wilderness after 40 days of fasting. The enemy comes along and tempts Jesus with bread to satiate his hunger. Bread doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. It’s been 40 days, it seems like he could eat, why is this a temptation? The enemy uses things that have a tiny bit of good or truth to tempt us. He plants a seed that we turn over and over in our heads, justifying, questioning and losing sight of the way of Jesus.

In the second temptation, the enemy even uses scripture as the basis for why Jesus should prove his Sonship. And Jesus comes back with scripture to combat what the enemy is luring him into. Over and over we see Jesus use the Word of God as a weapon in this battle. He knows the words and laws of God, he spent his life learning them. He carries them with him. We should do the same. It’s to forget what God is saying to us and lose ourselves in the way of the world, but we can guard against the half-truths the enemy uses to pull us away from God. We know the capital “T” Truth in Jesus. We don’t need to fear temptation when we are sitting in the presence of God and know his Word. The words and ways of Jesus we can always go back to. Again and again, reading truth and it soaks into our souls. We’re still going to be tempted and will even say yes to the temptation, but the more we can watch the way Jesus lived and follow in his ways, the more we can guard our own hearts from falling off the path too often.

This prayer is for us. As Jesus used God’s word as a defense, may it be so with us.

PRAY
God of mercy,
your word was the sure defense of Jesus in his time of testing.
Minister to us in the wilderness of our temptation,
that we who have been set free from sin by Christ
may serve you well into life everlasting. Amen

WRITE and DISCUSS

  1. What scriptures or tools do you use to guard against temptation and turning away from the way of Jesus?
  2. What does it make you feel or think when you hear that you are also a child of God whom he loves without ever having to strive for it or proving your worth?