Emails to God – Humoring Satan (Matthew 4:1-11)

10 Nov

1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

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

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,

and they will lift you up in their hands,

so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Dear God, I find it interesting that Jesus played along with Satan and humored him so much during this interchange. First, Satan came to him and tempted him with food. That makes sense. I can see how that would happen. But why did Jesus go with him to the holy city (presumably Jerusalem) and get on top of the temple? Why did Jesus go with him to a very high mountain? Why allow himself to be tempted in that way? Why didn’t he tell Satan to leave immediately?

There are a lot of question marks in that last paragraph. I guess I am just trying to figure out how much I am supposed to be in the world, but not of the world. My theory (and that is all that it is—a theory) is that Jesus knew that part of his earthly existence was to be tempted like we are tempted and to withstand those temptations. He knows that we are faced with temptations all of the time. He knows that we find ourselves in compromising situations, and I figure he wanted to ensure that we knew that he experienced big temptations and gave us an example of resisting them.

One of the struggles I have as a parent is knowing where to draw the line between not letting my children be exposed to temptation and then allowing them to be exposed to temptation. If I totally block off their exposure to temptation and put them in a box then they will not know 1.) how to deal with it as an adult, 2.) what it is to choose you and your glory over evil, and 3.) the wonder and beauty of repentance.

Father, guide me. Guide me in my own rejection of sin and help me to parent my children through their own decisions regarding sin. Life is hard. Life is complicated. Help me to glorify you in this life so that others might be drawn to you.

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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Matthew


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