[Editor's note: Beyond Sunday is a Monday refresher to carry you through the week.]

Focus Verse of the Week

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)

Commentary

Although Jesus’ hunger was no doubt fierce, the first temptation isn’t really about hunger per se. Nor is it about how you and I can use the Word of God to resist the devil (although we can and do.) It’s about Jesus choosing the suffering and indignity of the cross over his rightful dignity as the Son of God. “Why would the Son of God suffer under the consequences of humanity’s rebellion? Why not simply command stones to be bread and relieve the indignity? Why suffer such demeaning pain for such unworthy subjects?” It’s a valid question. The only answer to this question is grace (Titus 2:4-7).

Additionally, the second temptation has little to do with Jesus proving his sonship to Satan. Nor, is it about how we can trust God in a trial (although we can and do.) It was about the necessary obscurity of the Son of God. In obedience to the Father Jesus took on humanity and veiled his glory in order to take up the cross (Isaiah 53:2-3). Basically, “Why suffer the pain of the cross when you can reveal yourself as the Son of God in a (self-serving) display of your glory?” In this scene Jesus’ humility is beyond compare. The Son of God refused his rightful status in order to save men whose determination to exalt themselves above God had condemned them in the first place.

The third temptation cuts to the chase. There’s not much spin on this one. It is a blatant attempt to have Jesus avoid the anguish of the cross and, thereby, disobey the Father (Hebrews 12:2-3). He could be declared “Lord of Lords” without bearing God’s wrath on behalf of sinners if he merely subjected himself to Satan. In response Jesus commits to do that which humanity had failed to do in the very beginning – worship God only.

(Adapted from Byron Yawn's The Temptation of Jesus Is Not about Your Battle with Sin.)

A Thought to Keep

Always keep the gospel of Christ first in your mind as you read the Bible. Jesus' grace, humility, and love are without compare.