Monday, July 29, 2013

July 29 - Matthew 4

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 4. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • After being baptized and having the Holy Spirit descend on him like a dove, Jesus is led by God into the desert, goes 40 days without food and then gets tempted by Satan himself. Jesus is tempted in three different ways:
    • To satisfy his body.
    • To show everyone he was the Messiah/Christ by using a shortcut.
    • To have authority over the world without submitting to God.
  • The way Jesus resisted these temptations was by responding with truth from the Bible. But Jesus not only had to know these truths by heart, he had to correctly apply them because Satan also used the bible. 
  • After this Jesus goes to live in the vicinity of the Sea of Galilee, which is a lake about 70 miles north of Jerusalem. There Jesus begins preaching His message: “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is near."
  • While in that region Jesus calls his first disciples: Simon (called Peter), Andrew, James, and John. These guys were all commercial fishermen and immediately left their trade to follow Jesus.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • We are tempted every day in very similar ways to Jesus - to satisfy our bodies, to use shortcuts to get what we want, to not submit to God. Jesus responded to each temptation by quoting a truth from the Bible. This is effective because temptations are lies. We should also know the Bible well enough that we can use it against our temptations.
  • It's interesting (and inspiring) that Jesus chose fishermen for His first disciples, not religious leaders. Instead of picking theologically trained people who had already proven their devotion to God, He chose ordinary people who were willing to leave everything to follow Him and "fish for people" (help people find their way to God).

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Do you pass the test when you're tempted? Are you able to remember the truths of the Bible when you're seeking to resist temptation? What are some Bible verses you should memorize that speak to some of your most persistent temptations? If you don't know, simply google "Bible verses about..." and a word that represents your temptation ("lust," or "greed," or "gossip," or "lying"). You'll get a list of Bible verses to choose from.  Memorize one or two that you think would be helpful.
  • Like the fishermen in this chapter, you may think you are very ordinary and haven't proven enough to be chosen or used by God. But what that actually means is that Jesus would choose you. The only question is: Are you willing to drop everything to follow Jesus and help others find Him?