Matthew 4:1: A Surprisingly Comforting Verse

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Matthew 4:1

Believe it or not, this verse comforts me greatly.  Here we have Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God Himself, being tempted by Satan!  And He overcame all of those temptations!  He did not give in and sin!  Man, I can’t tell you how much that encourages me!  Here’s why.  Now I know that Jesus understand what I am going through.

Hebrews has some interesting things to say about this:  “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, (Christ) likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery…Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:14-15, 17-18).

And again, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).

Jesus was tempted just like you and me.  He knows how it feels.  He understands the struggle.  Not only that, but He didn’t give in and sin!  That’s because He knew God’s Word and chose to obey it.  Each time Satan approached Him with a temptation, He didn’t call the power of God down from heavens to strike Satan with a bolt of lightning.  Instead, He quoted Scripture and chose to abide by what that Scripture taught (Matthew 4:1-11).

We can do the same thing, friends!  The Bible says that the man “who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” is the man whose “delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).  Does that describe you, friend?  If not, that can easily change today.  Why not during your lunch break next week pull up your Bible app instead of your Facebook app and study a chapter you’ve never read before?  You’d be amazed at the changes that can come into your life if you do that repeatedly over time with an honest and open heart (Luke 8:15).

Consider this also.  If you allow the power of the God shown through the gospel of Christ to save you by believing it, repenting of your sins and being baptized into Christ (Romans 1:16; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7; Galatians 3:26-27), then you will become a Christian and Jesus will become your High Priest.  As a Christian, we will continue to sin at times.  We were told, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

The good news is that when Christians sin we can penitently cry out to God for forgiveness (1 John 1:7-10; Acts 8:22), and our High Priest and Mediator is at the right hand of the throne of God pleading our case.  It gives me great comfort as a baptized believer to know that Jesus is my High Priest and is at this very moment saying, “Father, I know what Jon is going through.  I’ve been there.  I was tempted in the same way.  He’s pleading for mercy and trying to do better.  Be merciful.  Be gracious.”

What comfort!  What love!  What hope this gives in the face of the struggles against sin we all face in this world!

You can take advantage of this wonderful benefit too.  Obey the gospel and avoid hell (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).  Believe in Christ, repent of your sins, and be baptized into His body which is His church today.

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