It is that time again: lent season. It never occurred to me just how important lent is until my later teenage years. I have always heard in sermons or around the block, “make sure you give up something, it’s lent season!” It just never crossed my mind that what I would give up would benefit God. Today’s lesson comes from Matthew Chapter 4, and I want to show you the importance of what sacrifice is. Matthew 4 opens us up to Jesus being led into wilderness to fast and pray with God. The key idea I want you to see in this is Jesus fasted food and water for 40 days. “For forty days and nights He fasted and became very hungry Matthew 4:2. Not only was Jesus led by the Spirit, He was also to be tempted by the devil. I don’t know how I could give up food and water and on top of that, being tempted by Satan? Jesus willingly endured trials. The three things Satan tempted Jesus with were food, testing God’s power, and worshiping other idols (in this case, Satan himself.)
Tempted by Food (our pleasures): Satan had seen Jesus and could sense His hunger, so he 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.” Matthew 4:3-4. There are a lot of times I feel like materialistic things or even food will fill the emptiness within my soul. Jesus reminds us here that only thing that will strengthen us and fulfill us is the word of God, holy and love breathed. It prepares our souls for the battle and to fight off the enemy’s attacks.
Tempted by power (control of our own lives): Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the temple , 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.'” Matthew 4:5-7. I don’t always trust or see the good in circumstances I can’t control, and there are times I try to seek out my plans on my own, but Jesus reminds us that God is faithful to the one He loves and we can always trust Him because He is greater.
Tempted by idols: “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 here, Satan, Jesus told Him. “For the Scriptures say, You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” Matthew 4:8-10. This world is filled with things, people, and substances that try to sway our hearts to follow them. This world is filled with empty promises and broken hearts. Jesus reminds us that God is forever, and He is above all. He is the one who created us and saved us by giving us Jesus. He conquered temptation through His fast, we have the will power and strength to do so as well. We are all in the same wilderness, with Satan luring behind us. We have the courage to know Jesus endured, so can we! We are never alone. Happy Lent!
“Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.” Matthew 4:11