Week One: The Temptation I
Read Matthew 3:13-17
What do you think it felt like for Jesus that day? How does it feel when the Father so richly rains down His approval of Jesus? Amazing, accepted, loved, like everything is right with the world
Now read Matthew 4:1-4 remembering that when Matthew wrote it there were no chapter breaks
When Satan says “If you are the son of God…” he is challenging whatever was present when Jesus was standing in the river only three verses back.
What has changed for Jesus that is would be harder to believe that His Father still feels the same way about Him? Hot. Feels far from God maybe?, hungry, “did I take a wrong turn?”
If Jesus chooses to listen to Satan and make his own bread, what is He saying about His Father? That He will not provide, That maybe He doesn’t love me enough to provide for me, I just have to do this myself
Question for the group: What is it like for us today to question whether our Father loves us enough to provide for us what we really need? At work? In our marriages? At school? With our children? Where else?
Conclusion: If the Enemy can get us to believe that we are not really God’s loved children, then who will be in charge of our well-being?
We will be! We will feel as though we must fend for ourselves of no one will. Every sin we have ever committed has had this attitude at it’s heart.
Week Two: The Temptation II
Once again, start by reading Matthew 3:13-17
Review: What do you think it felt like for Jesus that day? How does it feel when the Father so richly rains down His approval of Jesus? Amazing, etc…
Now read Matthew 4:5-7
What is the Temple in the Jewish world? If Jesus were to jump off who would notice?
Everyone, because it is the very center of Jewish worship and cultural life.
Psalm 91 (the one Satan is quoting) is a Messianic psalm, so Satan is asking Jesus to prove once and for all that He is Messiah. Obviously, tempting Jesus to jump off a building is a weak temptation. But what would have happened that day if Jesus would have jumped from the Temple? Everyone would have hailed Him as Messiah!!! At least ,this is what Satan wants Him to think and feel…
What events would not have happened? No rejection, no accusations, no false trial, to betrayal, no crucifixion, no salvation
(So Jesus would have proved that He is Messiah but saved no one.)
Now look again closely. Satan began this temptation by questioning whether He is really God’s child. Remember again that Matthew is contrasting this with Jesus standing in the river.
Hasn’t God already declared that Jesus is His son? So what has changed since then that would make it tempting to prove it again? In the river, it must have felt so close and so good. But now the Enemy is questioning it. If Jesus just puts the Father to the test, he can make the Father prove to EVERYONE who He is.
Question for the group: What is it like for us today to question whether our Father loves us when we are going through the pains of life? At work? In our marriages? At school? With our children? Where else?
Why is it challenging to believe that He can use the hard things to change the world?
This question is a great opportunity to visit Jesus’ command to join Him by taking up our cross and following Him.
Week Three: The Temptation III
This time, start by reading Genesis 3:1-5
Review: Especially in verse 4, what is the serpent offering to Eve? To be just like God!!!
What does she have to believe about God’s love for her in order to accept the serpent’s temptation? She would have to believe that God is withholding good from her, and that she would have to take matters into her own hands!
Now read Matthew 4:8-10
What is the Enemy offering to Jesus? To quit tempting the world. To halt his lordship over mankind’s rebellion.
If Jesus had given into the temptation, what would have followed? There are many opinions. But this one thing is clear, if Jesus had bowed down then we would have no God left to worship.
Then why is this temptation alluring to someone in Jesus’ place? Because His whole life is dedicated to defeating Satan. And here Satan is offering a truce if Jesus will just debase Himself.
(If the last temptation would have proved He was Messiah but would have saved no one, this one offers Him the chance to have the devil quit, but the people would have no God left to love them..)
Question for the group: What is it like for us to give into the temptation to things we know are wrong? What makes it so difficult to ride out temptation all the way through without giving in?
What do we say about God’s love for us when we choose sin instead?
Being a disciple of Jesus means learning to trust his Fatherhood when our fears and appetites overwhelm us. When, on a heart level, we lose our belief in His love and provision for us we begin to operate out of fear which introduces destruction and pain onto our lives. But when, on a heart level, we choose to trust His love and provision for us, we begin to be free of fear and are able to live life alive to God the way we were designed to do.