Footnotes

*4:4: Deuteronomy 8:3

*4:6: Psalm 91:11-12

*4:7: Deuteronomy 6:16

4:10: TR and NU read “Go away” instead of “Get behind me”

*4:10: Deuteronomy 6:13

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Matthew

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How to unlock the incredible power in you?

In our previous reading  we learned that as Christians, we have incredible power because we have the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:19-20). You may ask, how is it that I cannot turn stones into something else if I have incredible power?

Jesus’ words in Matthew 4:4 and John 5:19 unveiled the hidden secret to exercising His power. Jesus lived having absolute trust that God loves Him with an unfailing love and would never fail to provide abundantly for Him. Incredible power comes from the Holy Spirit. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He never act independently from God, He did only what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). This gives us the key to unlock the incredible power in us.

When we live trusting the word of God, believing that God loves us and wants to provide for us (Matthew 7:11), to heal us (Isaiah 53:5), to bless (Ephesians 1:3) and delight us (John 16:24) , then we are already unlocking the incredible power of God. When you believe, you will find God’s provision, healing, blessings upon you, pouring on you immeasurably beyond your imagination (Ephesians 3:20).

 Also, when the Spirit in you receives from Jesus and reveals to you something (John 16:13-15), for example telling you to go speak a word of blessing to someone or pray for healing for someone, then go courageously and do accordingly. Pray to our Heavenly Father in Jesus’ name (John 16:23) and you will receive what you pray for (John 16:24). You will discover that your prayers of faith can move mountains. That was how apostle Peter healed the man born lame (Acts 3:4-8).

Therefore, just because you cannot turn stones into bread nor perform some magic, it does not mean you do not have incredible power. You have the Holy Spirit. You have the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 1:19-21).

There are a lot of insights we can gather from this Matthew 4:1-11. We have divided it into 5 sections for the 5 questions. You might want to study just one section per day.

QUESTIONS RELATED TO THIS CHAPTER

1. Why did the Spirit led Jesus to be tempted?

This temptation was necessary for Jesus to be proven as a Man without sin and to undo what Adam had done.

You see, the world is under the power of the devil (1 John 5:19) since the time Adam and Eve believed in the lies of the serpent and ate the fruit which God had warned them that they would surely die if they ate it.

We have read in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 that God made everything on earth out of His love for mankind.  God sets the Sun, the Moon and the Earth to rolate and revolve so we can have our seasons and the Earth will yield its crops in its seasons. How would a God who had so meticulously created everything so excellent for Adam and Eve, should withhold a fruit that would be good for them?

Yet Adam and Eve believed the serpent that God forbid them to eat that fruit because that fruit will make them wise like God. In fact Adam and Eve failed to realise they are children of God. They held a position so highly esteemed that when they sinned, all creation was cursed. 

It never pleases God to see mankind suffering under the power of the devil. However, God is a God of justice. The wages of sin is death and that has to be paid (Romans 6:23). Hence, Jesus, the Son of God, had to leave His throne in heaven, to destroy the power of the devil (Hebrews 2:14)and break the curses (Genesis 3:15-19). To do that, Jesus had to become a Man, be subjected to temptation just as Adam and Eve did, be proven to be a Man without sin, so that He can carry the sins of all mankind and die in our place, thus fulfilling the requirements of the laws (Matthew 5:17-20, 2 Corinthians 5:21). In so doing, He set free all who believe and accept Him as their Saviour (Galatians 5:1, Hebrews 2:14).

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Bibles.com

Do you know…

that there are only two occasions stated in the Bible that the devil spoke externally to a person?

This temptation of Jesus is the second occasion. Do you know when was the first time the devil appeared to mankind?

Open to check answer

In the occasion when the serpent deceived Eve (Genesis 3:1).

Why only 2 occasions?

Do you know why there are only 2 occasions where the devil appeared to mankind externally?

Find out why

The reason is because before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, the devil had no control over mankind. So he had to disguise as the serpent to deceive Eve.

However, after Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, sin is inside every human and the devil could control their thoughts, emotions and will power, without having to appear to them.  Unlike God, the devil cannot be omipresent. He cannot appear to everyone at the same time. So he needs to have sin inside mankind to destroy mankind.

The power of the devil through the power of sin in human was clearly demonstrated in the story of Cain and Abel.. The devil no longer have to appear to Cain to deceive him to kill Abel. Sin was inside Cain and it could easily arouse in Cain a jealousy so great that could drive him to murder his own brother.

When Jesus came to this world, He does not carry the DNA of Adam and Eve. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and not by Mary and Joseph. So Jesus has no sin in Him. Hence the devil had to appear externally to Jesus.

 

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2. Why Jesus would not exercise His power to turn the stones to bread since He was hungry?

Matthew 4:4 is sometimes misconstrued as Jesus teaching us that being filled with the word of God is far more important than filling our stomach.

Although God’s word is of utmost importance it does not  imply that God does not see meeting our basic needs as important.  The reason why Jesus would not turn the stone to bread is because Jesus has absolute trust that God loves Him with an unfailing love and would never fail to provide a meal for Him as according to what the scriptures say (Matthew 3:17, Genesis 2:9, 16, Isaiah 46:4). [Contrast this to Adam and Eve not believing that God will not withhold any good thing from them].

Jesus has no sin and He was not under the curse of Genesis 3:17 where He had to sweat to provide for himself. God will supply all His needs. In fact, trusting that God will provide is so foundational and of utmost importance that, that was what the LORD was teaching the children of Israel in the 40 years they wandered in wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:3).

If Jesus had doubted God’s willingness to provide and sought His own way, then He would have failed what God was teaching the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:2-3. Then He would have sinned because of unbelief. So Matthew 4:4 was about Jesus believing that God will provide for Him.

There is also another reason why Jesus would not perform a miracle to turn the stone into bread. In John 5:19, after Jesus healed a lame man, this is what he explained”

….“I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. (John 5:19)

 

Jesus has broken the curses of Genesis 3:16-19 for anyone who believes

Jesus believed that He was the beloved Son of God because God said so (Matthew 3:17). Jesus was obedient to fulfill the will of God and only act base on what He sees His Father doing (John 5:19).  With this, Jesus was proven to be without sin. 

As Jesus did not sin and did not carry the DNA of Adam and Eve, He was not under any curses. With that, He was able to carry our sins and die in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). In doing so He broke the curses in Genesis 3:16-19  for all who believes in Him (Galatians 3:13, John 11:25-26).

This means that when you become a believer, you are put right with God like Adam and Eve before they sin. You do not need to sweat to make things happen. God your Father will provide for you. In fact that was what the LORD was teaching the children of Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 16:27-30, Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

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3. Why did the devil challenge Jesus to do such a silly thing as to jump down from the temple?

Seeing that Jesus believed in the promise of God, Satan too quoted from scriptures Psalm 91:11-12, to challenge Christ to throw Himself down from the highest point of the temple. The Devil was tempting Jesus to test the extend He believes He is the Son of God. 

Self doubt, low self esteem and the need to prove oneself have always been great tools for the devil and for evil people to prey on their victims. Although Adam and Eve were made to be children of God, the devil managed to convince them to want to become like God.

Unlike Adam, Jesus is firmly rooted on knowing He is the Son of God and knowing that God loves Him (Matthew 3:17). He does not need to respond to anyone’s taunting. He is the Son of God. He is fixed on obeying God and accomplishing the will of His Father. All throughout His ministry, Jesus never use His power and authority to act independently of God the Father, to do things His own way. (John 4:34, 5:19, 30, 6:38, 8:26, 10:18, 12:49-50, 14:30-31, 15:10).  

Adam’s disobedience had brought death and condemnation to everyone. Now Christ’s obedience has restored us back to God and given us new life, enabling us to live in triump over sin and death (Romans 5:17-19).

Take note that for all these temptations of Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11), the Bible clearly stated that the Holy Spirit led Jesus to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1). These temptations were necessary so that mankind can be redeemed from the sin of Adam that brought death to all (Romans 5:12).

However, do you know that contrary to popular belief,  no where in the Bible was it stated that God planted the tree of Knowledge of good and evil to test Adam and Eve. God commanded them not to eat that fruit. It was a commandment, not  a test.

God is not all out to test you

What this means is that we should not have the misconception that God is always all out to test us. Many Christians thought that when they face difficulties in life, it must be God testing them. Some people got so angry with God for allowing difficulties in their life and then punishing them for failing to overcome the temptation.  My child, this is exactly what the devil wants you to feel towards God. This is a wrong thinking (James 1:13) that will only cause you to draw away from the only power that can save you.

Recognise that your enemy is the devil who walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

But Christ has overcome the devil (John 16:33, Hebrews 2:14). So even when bad things happen, know that God is working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). You may not see it now but someday, when you look back in your life, you will see the big beautiful picture that God has painted in your life.

God is for you even when you fail

Sometimes, as human, we make mistakes and we had to suffer the consequences. Very often, people felt that they have failed God’s test and hence are suffering God’s punishment.

My child, if you are someone who had believed in Jesus,  you ought to know this truthyou may be suffering the consequences of your mistakes but as long as you remain walking with Jesus, putting your faith in Him, you are not being punished by God (Romans 8:1, John 10:28-30). God is still for you, not against you. God is willing and He wants to restore you (2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Peter 5:10).

When Jesus took your sins and die in your place, all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven, once and for all. You are without a single fault (Colossians 1:22) and forever you are righteous in the eyes of God. Have a repentent heart and remain in Jesus (John 15:7). Do not allow yourself to be discouraged and draw away from God, thinking that God is punishing you. Or allow yourself to be angry with God. Know that even when you make mistakes, you are still the beloved child of God because Jesus had perfectly paid it all for you.

 

Even in the Old Testament, Abraham lied, Moses killed an Egyptian, David committed adultery and murder, yet God forgave and restored them as they continue their walk with God. How much more when you are cleansed by the blood of Christ (1 John 1:7-9). This means that while you are going through a very challenging time as you face the consequence of your mistakes, know for certain that God is on your side. Be confident that God still loves you with an unfailing love and He will save you. He will help you walk through this difficult time and emerge victoriously.

 

 

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4. Is Matthew 4:1-11 telling us the 3 ways the devil can destroy us?

Many Bible scholars suggest that the specific temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness represent three main categories of all human temptation— the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). It is a controversial issue to argue if these specific temptations matches the three categories in 1 John 2:16.  However,  to say that the devil’s attack is limited to these three categories would not be controversial but certainly errorneous.

The Bible clearly stated that the devil is always seeking an opportunity to attack (Luke 4:13, 1 Peter 5:8). When Peter was fervent for the LORD, the devil would stir up a fear in him that caused him to deny knowing Jesus (Luke 22:31-34). When Job walked rightly and was greatly blessed by God but fear that God would punish his children because of their sins, the devil would seek approval from God to bring disaster on Job and test if he would continue his good opinion of God. Job ended up questioning why did God subject him who is innocent to so much pain. The devil will always seek to make God’s people misunderstand God and draw away.

Do not fear, Jesus has conquered the devil

Jesus taught us not to allow our heart to be troubled (John 14:1,27)because He had overcome the devil (John 16:33). Do you know, when the devil ask for Peter, instead of praying that the temptation never take place, Jesus prayed for Peter’s faith not to fail (Luke 22:31-34). This tells us that faith is the shield that protects us against the devil’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16).

My child, Jesus has broken the power of sin and sin is no longer your master (Romans 6:14). You have the Holy Spirit living in you. Sin can no longer be in you to control you because your body is now the temple of God and the Holy Spirit will not live with sin in the same temple. The devil will have to deceive you using external methods. Put on the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and do not fear because you have Jesus seated at the right hand of God interceding for you (Romans 8:34).

 

1. Matthew 4:4-Live believing every word (every promise)  of God  — that it is God’s will to bless us in every area of our life (Genesis 2, Ephesians 1:3).

 2. Matthew 4:7 – Live believing absolutely that you are a beloved child of God ( 1 John 3:1), you do not need to test if this is true, Jesus has given His life for you ( 1 John 4:9).

3. Matthew 4:10 – Live worshiping and serving only God, believing that as children of God, the glory that will be revealed to us is far greater than the riches of this world that do not last forever (Romans 8:18, Matthew 6:19-21, 16:24-28, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, 1 John 2:17).

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 5. Is it wrong to desire riches and honor in this life on earth?

Many Christians believe that Matthew 4:1-11 is telling us deny ourselves (our desires for riches, honor and success in life).  We must be careful of such erroneous teachings that cause us to misunderstand God and does not build faith in us (in trusting that God loves to bless us). The truth is God our Father loves to bless us and grant us our hearts’ desires.

We all know that God is all powerful, Creator of entire universe and His riches is infinite. But more importantly, we need to know for certain that it is God’s desire to bless His people abundantly. Throughout the entire bible, we read how God blessed His people with riches and honor. To name just a few:

 

    • Right from the beginning, we read in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 how God prepared everything for Adam and Eve even before they were created and how God blessed them to rule over all of His creation (Genesis 1:28).

 

    • In Genesis 13:2, we read that Abraham was extremely wealthy, so was his son Isaac (Genesis 26:13).

 

    • In Psalms 18:43-50, King David wrote that a people he did not know served him. Then in 2 Chronicles 1:12, we read that God blessed David’s son Solomon with riches, wealth, honor and long life.

We must also know that Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so that we can have a rich and satisfying life. In 2 Corinthians 8:9, it is written that Jesus became poor so that through His poverty we can be rich. Hence, recognise that it is God’s will that we have riches and honor. It is God’s will that we have good success (Proverbs 10:22). In fact, since we have the Holy Spirit, we have wisdom. Naturally, succcess and riches will hunt us down. Just like what David wrote — goodness and unfailing lovewill pursue us all the days of our lives (Psalms 23:6).

Hence,

    • Our focus should therefore be to serve God and not having to sacrifice our lives to acquiring wealth (Psalms 127:1-2) and seeking the approval of men to get honor (John 12:42-43, Matthew 6:1-8, 24, 28:19-20) .
    • Our faith should therefore be to believe that God will keep His promises to provide abundantly beyond our imagination (Ephesians 3:20, Matthew 6:33, 7:11, 16:25, 19:29).

As believers of Jesus, we are redeemed, we are no longer under the curses in Genesis 3:17. God wants us to simply trust that HE wil provide for us and not having to sacrifice our lives to sweat to make things happen. Sweating to become rich is a curse (Genesis 2:17-19) but Jesus has broken that curse for us. We just need to believe to unlock our inheritance.

We belong to Christ, God’s promises to Abraham belongs to us too (Galatians 3:29). We have incredible power already in us because of the Holy Spirit in us (Ephesians 1:19-21). Therefore, there is no need for us to try to make things happen.  God will bless us. It will happen. This is God’s promises (Matthew 6:33, 7:11) and this truth (John 8:31-32) should set us free (Matthew 6:19-34) to focus on serving God and set our minds on the  things of God (Matthew 16:24-28).

Do you want to receive Jesus into your life?

If you are not yet a believer but would like to believe and receive Jesus into your life, all it takes is to say a simple prayer like this:

“Dear LORD Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God and that Your love for me has driven You to leave Your throne in heaven to come to this world to die in my place so that I can be forgiven. I thank you that your blood has cleansed me from all my sins, I am forgiven as I say this prayer. From this moment onwards, I am a new creation, I am a child of God, I am forgiven, forever in You, forever righteous. Thank you for all that You suffer and did for me. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can lead the victorious life that You came to give me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”

If you have said the above prayer, you are saved. You have eternal life. You are a Christian, a new creation. Old things have passed away. God is do a new thing in your life. Start walking with Jesus. Look for a church that is based on the Word of God (the Bible) and that teaches the love and grace of God.

Matthew

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