Monday, July 18, 2011

Matthew: Chapter 4

There is so much in this chapter that begs for application!  The Spirit LED Jesus into the wilderness for the purpose of His being tested (proved to be the Messiah!) by Satan.  Satan seemingly leapt at the opportunity and came to Jesus.  Satan's first attack focused on a perceived weakness (physical hunger) in Christ.  As in each of these temptations, Jesus responds with scripture.  We need to know God's Word to fight a good fight!  In the second attack Satan took Jesus to the heights of the temple and tempts Christ to use His power to glorify Himself.  John refers to this as the pride of life--those temptations which appeal to our ego.  Jesus again responded with scripture--and a refusal to test God.  The final temptation was to 'worship' all that the world had to offer and Jesus adamantly focused on the need to worship and serve God alone.  We must not love this world!  Jesus concluded this episode by commanding Satan to leave...scriptures tell us we must do that as well.  We can only command Satan in Christ's name and power--never our own.

The commentary had some intriguing comments about Galilee of the Gentiles.  Evidently this was a very wicked area in which Jesus chose to begin preaching.  The light of the world brought the same message as John the Baptist--repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.  We often bemoan the condition of our world; perhaps we should simply follow Christ's example and bring His light.  I love the reminder that even a small light is seen in great darkness.  Opportunity abounds!

The calling of the disciples has additional detail in other parts of scripture.  I was slightly comforted to realize this was not their first encounter with Jesus.  Nevertheless, their response to His clear call was immediate and decisive.  They left what they were doing to follow Jesus.  After His death, they would return to 'what they knew' but when Christ called them to Apostleship, they responded then as well.  We must heed the calls of Christ.

The final verses give us a glimpse of Christ as the great Healer.  The regions mentioned in these few verses cover extensive territory.  Christ was indeed a Miracle Worker--and He is unchanging, so He is still in the miracle business.  The work of the Spirit in my own heart and life never ceases to humble me and bring praises for Christ.  Let us spread the news about Jesus to all we touch!

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