Matthew 1 -11 is Jesus being tempted in the Wilderness.  During this passage, there is an uncanny resemblance to the parallels of the Book of Genesis. In the Beginning there was Adam and Eve, alone in the wilderness (A great garden with everything they might need and no worries and then the serpent comes and tempts them to take part of the apple). In this temptation, there is a wilderness, disorder and ruin, and the serpent (the devil himself) that returns to tempt Christ to change the rock into bread.  The difference is that Christ in this passage symbolizes a change in the tide.  This time, He will not fall into the evil temptations of the Devil and instead Jesus turns to the written word and the book of life and challenges everything that the devil says.

There is another interesting parallel in this passage.  That being that the Devil continues the threefold attack method.   First, he comes as a serpent and attacks with deceit and questions.

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

The “If you are the Son of God” is the Serpent sneaking in and questioning the authority of Jesus. Then the Devil tempts like an Angle of Light by proclaiming:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Following this, The Lion emerges and takes Jesus to a High mountain and proclaims:

“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

The Serpent (Revelation 20:2), The Lion (1 Peter 5:8), and the Angle of Light (1 Corinthians 11:14) are three guises the Devil uses to attach us every chance he gets.

The Bible warns followers that we will be tempted in the same way by the Devil.  In both Genesis with Adam and Eve and in this passage in Matthew, the Devil uses this tri-fold attack

“through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the vain-glory of life” 1 John 2:16

The best part of this entire engagement between Jesus and the Devil is that Jesus won the battle.  He took the wilderness, a metaphor for what the world has become and he began to change the untamed nature of the vast wilderness and began to tame it once more.  Jesus won by scripture.  He had a scripture ready to return any argument the devil could come up with.  This should tell us as followers that the answer to our needs, wants, and desires can be found in the Bible.

 

Jesus Begins to Preach

Not ironically Jesus began his ministry by preaching repentance.  In this day and age and every day, repentance is a necessity. One must repent before they may enter the Kingdom of God.  Repentance is an absolute necessity.  Another good parallel here is that John the Baptist had been imprisoned so as Jesus takes on the ministry he confirms what John the Baptist was saying and provides affirmation of the authority John the Baptist spoke.

 

Cast your Nets aside and follow me.

Matthew continues the chronology and introduces the beginning of the Disciples where Jesus comes up and says, Hey, come follow after me.  The wording in this sentence is important as it leads to importance later on denoting that it is the disciples job to teach after Christ’s death.

 

Jesus Heals the Sick

The next section of Matthew provides insight that Jesus spent much time in Galilee truly providing enlightenment and healing to all those that he could reach.  There was an expansive ministry that happed there and many people came to follow.  But also by doing so Jesus fulfilled the prophesy and truly shed light in an area that rejected him and an area that had been taken over by sin and evil.

 

Wrap-Up

I would say the most important thing I took away this chapter in Matthew is the temptations.  The subtle temptations of the serpent, the scripture doesn’t specifically say no to it temptations of the Angle of Light, and the Bow Down and Worship Me temptations of the Lion trying to strike fear into someone.   John’s proclamation of a tri-fold attack “through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the vain-glory of life” 1 John 2:16 and a method that is seen over and over again as the signature trademark of the Devil.  The Devil is a very real person who seeks to divide and conquer. He wants to do nothing more than divide us from God and we have to rely on the scripture.  We must know scripture and not use it as a weapon to divide, yet we need to use it to unify.

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Mikal Farley
Priest Community of Christ • Indianapolis• Webmaster

Mikal Farley serves as the Public Information chair for the Indianapolis Congregation. He also serves as a Public Information Advisor to the Kentucky-Indiana USA Mission Center.

Mikal serves the Community of Christ in the capacity of a Priest.  Priests represent Christ primarily as ministers of presence who model Jesus as Friend in households, families, congregations, and community.