This is the first week of Lent. Lent is the weeks that precede Easter. It is a time where we pray and get ready for Easter after Jesus was crucified and rose again early that Sunday morning.
Do you know what the word temptation means? Temptation is wanting to do something which we know we should not do. We all face temptations every day, and it is hard to resist sometimes. It isn’t a sin to be tempted unless we do what we know is wrong. Even Jesus was tempted in our Bible verses for this week.
Matthew 4, verses 1-11 tells us about the temptation of Jesus. After Jesus was baptized, He went out into the desert to pray. He stayed there fasting (going without food) for 40 days because He was trying to learn from His Father, God, what He was to do. You can imagine how hungry Jesus must have been! Suddenly, Satan came and said to Jesus, “You don’t have to be hungry. If You really are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread and eat.” Jesus did not listen to the devil, but told him, “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” So Satan tried something else.
Next, Satan took Jesus to the holy city up on the highest part of the temple. “If You are the Son of God, jump off, and God will send His angels to catch You.” Jesus knew it was wrong to test God, so He said, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Finally Satan tried for a third time. Satan took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Jesus the entire world below. He told Jesus, “All of this can be Yours. I will give it to You if You will bow down and worship me.” Jesus answered, “Go away from me Satan! It is written to worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”
Even though the devil tried to get Jesus to give into temptation and sin, He did not. Jesus remembered what the scriptures said, and it helped Him to do what was right and not give into temptation. We too have times when we are tempted to do something we know we shouldn’t. The temptations for different people may be different as well. I might be tempted to spread gossip where you might be tempted to disobey your parents, for example. It helps to remember what the Bible tells us to do and wants us to be like and also how Jesus won over His temptations by remembering those exact same things. God gave us the Bible and its stories to help us to know how He wants us to live. That is why it’s important to know what is in the Bible, so we can be like Jesus.
Let’s say a prayer together. Father God, thank You for giving us the Bible: its scriptures and stories that show us how to live for You. Thank You for sending Jesus as our example.
Help us to study Your Holy Word and learn what it teaches us, so we will be able to resist temptations when they come. In Your name we pray. Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church and the Middleport First Presbyterian Church.