Matthew 4-6: The Temptation of Jesus and the New Law

ABOUT READING: After Jesus was baptized, He went into the desert where He would be tempted. Jesus fasted there for forty days and forty nights and was approached by the devil. Satan first tempted Jesus by saying that if Jesus were really the Son of God, then He could could turn stones into bread. However, Jesus replied that “one does not live by bread alone … ” (Matthew 4:4), but by the Word of God. Next Satan had Jesus stand on the parapet of the temple in Jerusalem and he said to Jesus that if He was truly the Son of God, then Jesus would be able to throw Himself down and be saved by God’s angels. Yet Jesus answered, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test'” (Matthew 4:7). Then Satan took Jesus to the top of a high mountain and showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and promised Jesus that if He were to bow down to Satan, then Satan would give it all to Jesus. But Jesus retorted, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and Him alone shall you serve'” (Matthew 4:10).

Following His time in the desert, Jesus went to Galilee where He met Simon (or Peter) and Andrew. Jesus said for them to come with Him, and they immediately left everything behind to be with Jesus.

The second half of today’s reading began with The Beatitudes at the top of chapter five, and was followed by a variety of other teachings. Basically, this is where Jesus gave to man the New Law. He took pieces that were given in the Old Testament such as “You shall not kill …” (Matthew 5:21), and transformed them to something like “But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement …” (Matthew 5:22). I am not going to go over all of what is said here, but I encourage you to read it for yourself.

MY REACTION: Out of all of the topics that I considered responding to, one stuck out: worrying. At the end of chapter six, after the Lord’s prayer had been given, Jesus went on to warn us not to attach ourselves to material objects, but to God. He told us NOT to worry because God loves us and will care for us. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of trouble with this. I worry about my grades, I worry about the way my hair looks, I worry about money, I worry about clothes, and so on. But in reality this is a form of idolatry in some cases as well as a slap in God’s face. We have the “Big Man Upstairs” on our side, and yet we still insist that He can’t do it all even though we may say to others that He can.

Jesus, help me to follow you,
help me to center my life around you,
help me to trust in you,
help me to truly love you.

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