Jesus and the Devil (Mar-Apr 2007)

By Matt Dabbs

by Lauren Winner
an excerpt from The Voice of Matthew
(Chapter 4: Jesus and the Devil)
March – April, 2007

1The Spirit then led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. After this fast, He was, as you can imagine, hungry. 3But He was also curiously stronger because of His fast. And so He was able to withstand the devil, the tempter, when he came to Jesus.

The Devil: If You are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.

Jesus:(quoting Deuteronomy) 4It is written, “Man does not live by bread alone.
Rather, he lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Deuteronomy 4:4

The point, of course, is not that Jesus couldn’t have turned these stones to bread. As you will see a little later in our story, He can make food appear when He needs to. But Jesus doesn’t work miracles out of the blue, for no reason, for show or proof or spectacle. He works them in intimate, close places; He works them to meet people’s needs and to show them the way to the Kingdom.

5 Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city, Jerusalem, and he had Jesus stand at the very highest point in the holy temple.

The Devil: 6If You are the Son of God, jump! And then we will see if You fulfill the Scripture that says, “He will command His angels concerning You, and the angels will buoy You in their hands, so that You will not crash, or fall, or even graze Your foot on a stone.” Psalm 91:11-12

Jesus: 7That is not the only thing Scripture says. It also says, “Do not put the LORD your God to the test.” Deuteronomy 6:16

8And still the devil subjected Jesus to a third test. He took Jesus to the top of a very high mountain, and he showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in all their splendor and glory, their power and pomp.

The Devil: 9If You bow down and worship me, I will give You all these kingdoms.

Jesus: 10Get away from Me, Satan. I will not serve you. I will instead follow Scripture, which tells us to “worship the LORD your God, and serve only Him.” Deuteronomy 6:13

11Then, the devil left Jesus. And angels came and ministered to Him.

12It was not long until powerful people put John in prison. When Jesus learned this, He went back to Galilee. 13He moved from Nazareth to Capernaum, a town by the sea in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali—14He did this to fulfill one of the prophecies of Isaiah:

15 “In the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the road to the sea along the Jordan in Galilee, the land of the Gentiles—16in these places, the people who had been living in darkness saw a great light. The light of life will overtake those who dwelt in the shadowy darkness of death.” Isaiah 9:1-2

17From that time on, preaching was part of Jesus’ work. His message was not dissimilar from John’s.

Jesus: Turn away from sin; turn toward God. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

By now Jesus desired a community around Him, friends and followers who would help Him carry this urgent, precious message to people. And so He called a community around Him. We call these first beloved followers disciples, which means “apprentices.” The first disciples were two brothers, Simon and Andrew. They were fishermen.

18One day Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee when He saw Simon (also called Peter) and Andrew throwing their nets into the water. They were, of course, fishermen.

Jesus: 19Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.

20Immediately, Peter and Andrew left their fishnets and followed Jesus.

21Going on from there, Jesus saw two more brothers, James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They, too, were fishermen. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee getting their nets ready to fish. Jesus summoned them, just as He had called to Peter and Andrew, 22and immediately they left their boat and their father to follow Jesus.

23And so Jesus went throughout Galilee. He taught in the synagogues. He preached the good news of the Kingdom, and He healed people, ridding their bodies of sickness and disease. 24People talked about this Jesus, this Preacher and Healer, and word of His charisma and wisdom and power and love spread all over Syria, as more and more sick people came to Him. People who were too sick to walk persuaded their friends and relatives to carry them to Jesus. The innumerable ill who came before Him had all sorts of diseases—they were in crippling pain; they were possessed by demons; they had seizures; they were paralyzed. But Jesus healed them all. 25Large crowds from Galilee, from Jerusalem, from the ten cities called the Decapolis, from Judea, and from the region across the Jordan—these cripples and demonized and ill and paralytics came to Jesus, and He healed them, and they followed Him.


Download and read all of Matthew 4 from The Voice of Matthew
New Wineskins

Lauren WinnerLauren F. Winner is author of Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity, as well as Girl Meets God and Mudhouse Sabbath. The chapter of Real Sex titled “Communal Sex” was excerpted in New Wineskins. Ms. Winner also spoke with New Wineskins about her conversion to Christianity in A Conversation with Lauren Winner. She is a daughter of a Reform Jewish father and a lapsed Baptist mother. During her freshman year at Columbia University, she converted to Orthodox Judaism. She studied in England, receiving a master’s degree from Cambridge University, and during that time she was baptized into Christ. Girl Meets God was reviewed in the July-August 2003 issue of New Wineskins.

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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1577 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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