Bible Society of South Africa

Jesus – Day 3

Jesus: Full Man, Fully God.

Bible text(s)

2The people who walked in darkness

have seen a great light.

They lived in a land of shadows,

but now light is shining on them.

Isaiah 9:2GNBOpen in Bible reader

17From that time Jesus began to preach his message: “Turn away from your sins, because the Kingdom of heaven is near!”

Matthew 4:17GNBOpen in Bible reader

31Now is the time for this world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be overthrown.

John 12:31GNBOpen in Bible reader

3Then the Devil came to him and said, “If you are God's Son, order these stones to turn into bread.”

4But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’ ”

Matthew 4:3-4GNBOpen in Bible reader

6and said to him, “If you are God's Son, throw yourself down, for the scripture says:

‘God will give orders to his angels about you;

they will hold you up with their hands,

so that not even your feet will be hurt on the stones.’ ”

7Jesus answered, “But the scripture also says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”

Matthew 4:6-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

9“All this I will give you,” the Devil said, “if you kneel down and worship me.”

10Then Jesus answered, “Go away, Satan! The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ ”

Matthew 4:9-10GNBOpen in Bible reader

The above verse from Isaiah is found in the Old Testament, but reappears in the New Testament in Matthew, just before verse 17, as a reminder of the prophecy God had made through him.

Clearly, Jesus is “the great light” Isaiah spoke of and has come to people whose minds have not been enlightened by the knowledge of God; who live in the darkness of sin, under the “prince of this world” (John 12:31) as Jesus called the devil. Immediately Jesus begins His ministry, He calls the people to repent: to turn away from the darkness of sin because God is coming to rule through Him. “Repent” means to turn away from evil towards good, from the darkness towards the light, to be remorseful for doing wrong and to have a change of heart. Jesus knew how difficult this was. He had, Himself, experienced the subtle wiles of the devil in the desert before He began His ministry. He knew that the devil always attacks when a person is weak.

His first temptation was one common to all man: to choose autonomy rather than to submit to God and trust Him to supply His needs: “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (Matthew 4:3). The second temptation was to deliberately do something wrong and put God to the test to see if He would indeed keep Him safe: “Throw yourself down … He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands …” (Matthew 4:6). And lastly, the temptation to dishonour God and do things His own way in order to gain the riches and power that He would receive from His Father one day anyway, instead of doing it His father’s way: “‘All this I will give you,’ he (the devil) said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me’” (Matthew 4:9).

Each temptation was an attempt to make Jesus glorify Himself. But Jesus knew His Father’s will and remained faithful and obedient to Him even though He was tempted when he was weak from hunger after forty days of fasting. Here Jesus, the light of God, was tempted as Jesus the man, but He overcame the devil by rejecting each temptation with Scripture: “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’.” (Matthew 4:4) “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7) “For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” (Matthew 4:10)

Was it only the people of that time who lived in the darkness of sin? Or is this darkness evident today in any country, people or individual that has not yet been enlightened by God’s presence? Do you live in the light or in the darkness? What do you do when tempted?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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