Grow Through The Gospels: Matthew 4

Pastor Ed Young - Lead Pastor of Fellowship Church
Ed Young

June 6, 2024

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Grow Through The Gospels: Matthew 4

Read: Matthew 4

Matthew 4:1-2 “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry."

Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered,‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Think

Erwin Lutzer wrote, “Temptation is not a sin; it is a call to battle.”

A few years back, in Paris, a group of four decided to fast for forty days to protest against the nuclear arms race. These individuals, healthy and ranging in ages from 26 to 49, chose a dramatic way to make their point—drinking only bottled water, no food, no vitamins. As the fast went on, they encountered a slew of problems: severe hiccups, abdominal cramps, bleeding gums, and even insomnia. By day 38, one of them was struggling with brain dysfunction due to vitamin deficiency. Intriguingly, they all chose to end their fast precisely at 40 days, the exact duration Jesus fasted in the wilderness. Like them, Jesus would have been incredibly weak and vulnerable, physically speaking.

This ties deeply into the heart of Jesus' temptation. Imagine him out there in the wilderness, completely fasting, pushing his body to the extreme limits. The devil pops up at his weakest point, trying to take advantage of his physical hunger and human nature. The devil wasn’t just messing around; he hit Jesus when he was vulnerable, challenging him to turn stones into bread to satisfy his hunger. But he didn’t stop there; he also prodded at Jesus’ identity, essentially taunting him with, "If you are the Son of God, prove it!"

But here’s where it gets interesting. Jesus didn’t whip up some divine superpower to prove his point or to ease his hunger. Instead, Jesus answered with something even more powerful—Scripture. He said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." That's from Deuteronomy 8:3. What Jesus is getting at here isn’t just about dismissing physical needs but emphasizing that our deepest nourishment comes from God's words, from spiritual fulfillment that outlasts any physical satisfaction.

And this is where we can learn from Jesus. We all face our own "wilderness" moments when we feel utterly weak, and the easiest temptations feel irresistible. These are the times when flipping a proverbial stone into bread (taking the easy way out) feels like the best option. But Jesus shows us a radical alternative—cling to God's words. Dive deep into Scripture. It's not just about reading the Bible as a routine; it's about letting those words truly feed us, guide us, and help us stand firm against whatever challenges come our way. So, next time you feel like you’re in a tough spot, remember how Jesus handled his ultimate test. Grab your Bible, find those life-giving words, and let them fuel you and give you strength to do battle.

Apply

Consider starting a social media fast today or choose a day to reduce distractions and focus on God’s word. Select a portion of Scripture that you may have wanted to read or study but just haven’t had time to do so. Read it, write down thoughts, pray over it, and ask for insights to apply it.

Pray

Lord, I often find myself surrounded by temptation and challenges that test my faith and resolve in my daily life. Give me the discipline and desire to immerse myself in your Word, not just in moments of ease but especially in times of hardship. Teach me to rely on the truth of your promises as my sustenance and strength. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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