March 20


Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 41:4-9 | Numbers 30:31-54 | Luke 4:1-30|   Proverbs 11:20-21

Today’s Scripture Focus:  Luke 4:1-30

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry” (Luke 4:1-2 TNIV).

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  Hebrews 4:15 (ESV). 

 Jesus knows the power of temptation—he has been tempted in every respect as we are—and demonstrates the power of the Spirit to overcome the temptation.

Satan too knows our weakness. He knows our vulnerable places. When Jesus was hungry, he used that opportunity to tempt him. He always seems to know where we are weakest and exploits that to defeat us.

Satan knows how to twist scripture. He is a deceiver and it is easy to fall prey to his confusion. He tried the same with Jesus–but to no effect.

Satan is a master of pointing us toward short cuts. He offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world. Of course, Jesus would one day become heir of all those kingdoms. But Satan offers the kingdoms now, without the pain of the cross. He works the same way in our lives. He promises the easy way, the short cut, the glory without the pain.  

Satan waits for just the right moment. “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time” (13). He waits for the time we are most susceptible to temptation. He lies in wait to attack us when we are most vulnerable.

Jesus demonstrates the way to victory. He stands on the promises of scripture—combating deception with the truth of God’s word rightly interpreted. He resists in a context of solitude, silence, fasting and prayer. Spiritual disciplines build us up and provide spiritual formation that keeps us strong to resist the temptation of the evil one. He relies always on the power of the Spirit to lead him and give him the strength to resist (1).  

We are weak, but Christ is there to help us. Follow his example.  He knows the power of temptation—but he also demonstrates the power of God to resist and stand in victory.

For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18 (ESV)

Heavenly Father, strengthen me to resist temptation. Help me not to fall for the enemy’s shortcuts. Help me to abide in you and walk in your strength and power. Amen.

About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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