In Today’s Reading:
Sermon on the Mount; the Beatitudes; believers likened to salt and light; Jesus' teaching on the Law, divorce, oaths, giving to the needy, prayer, fasting, serving one Master.
Following His baptism, Jesus was led up [by] the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted [by] the devil. And when He had fasted forty days . . . He was . . . [hungry]. And when the tempter (Satan) came to Him, he said, If [You are] the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread (Matthew 4:1-3). The word tempt carries the thought "to test." Such testing is a necessary part of our lives and reveals our true character. First, the devil suggested an easy, self-serving way in which Jesus might achieve His goal: If (since) [You are] the Son of God, command these stones be made bread, meaning surely You can use Your abilities for Your own self-interest and to satisfy Your hunger (lust of the flesh) (I John 2:16). But Jesus, knowing that obedience to the Word of God must be the basis for all decisions, quoted Scripture saying: It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that [proceeds] out of the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3). The abilities that God has bestowed upon us are meant to be used for His honor and glory. But many are seduced by Satan's appeal to use them to satisfy selfish ambitions.
Satan's second temptation came [in] the Holy City . . . on a pinnacle of the Temple (Matthew 4:5). Satan suggested that Jesus could leap down into the midst of the people. This way He would present Himself as a superhuman Messiah (pride of life) (I John 2:16). Satan quoted Scripture to support this temptation, saying: He shall give His angels charge over [You]. . . . They shall bear [You] up . . . lest [You] dash [Your] foot against a stone (Psalms 91:11-12). The devil frequently appears very religious by quoting Scripture, but only the portion which fits his scheme. Jesus responded: It is written again, [You shall] not tempt the Lord [Your] God (Matthew 4:7).
In Satan's final attempt to seduce Jesus to sin (lust of the eyes) (I John 2:16), [he showed] Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And [said to] Him, All these things I will give [You], if [You will] fall down and worship me (Matthew 4:8-9). The devil suggested an easy, self-gratifying way in which Jesus might avoid all the pain and suffering and yet rule the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them. Jesus' reply was: [You shall] worship the Lord [Your] God, and Him only [shall You] serve (4:10). The purpose of Jesus was perfect obedience to God, as He said: As my Father has taught Me . . . I do always those things that please Him (John 8:28-29). Jesus taught His followers to pray: Our Father . . . Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done [on] earth, as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:9-10).
Jesus promised His followers: Seek . . . first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
Thought for Today: The poor in spirit will not be easily offended, and they are careful not to offend others.
5:13 lost his savor = lost its usefulness; 5:18 one jot or one tittle = as the dot on the letter "i"; 5:22 Raca = worthless one, said in contempt; 5:29 offend thee = causes you to sin; 5:33 to forswear = to swear falsely; 5:46 publicans = tax collectors; 6:19 corrupt = make worthless; 6:22 single = free from deceit; 6:23 evil = sinful; 6:24 mammon = material things.
For Matt. 4:4: See Deut. 8:3. Matt. 4:6: See Psa. 91:11-12. Matt. 4:7: See Deut. 6:16. Matt. 4:10: See Deut. 6:13. Matt. 4:15-16: See Isa. 9:1-2. Matthew 5:21: See Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17. Matt. 5:27: See Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18. Matt. 5:31: See Deut. 24:1. Matt. 5:33: See Num. 30:2; Deut. 23:21; Matt. 5:38: See Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21. Matt. 5:43: See Lev. 19:18.
Pray for your church · Country: Yemen (17million) in southwestern Arabia · Major language: Arabic · Attempts to convert Muslims to Christ are fiercely opposed · 98% Muslim; .03% Christians (all secret believers) · Prayer Suggestion: Offering praise and thanks to God is a sacrifice pleasing to Him (Hebrews 13:15).
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 15:4