Teaching Elder Stephen Eckert taught and used an example from C.S. Lewis’ Magician’s Nephew of how a good king is the first in the charge and the last to retreat. That is the kind of king we serve. Jesus put himself between us and Satan as He endured the testing and temptation.  We do not go through anything that Jesus has not already been through himself. We serve a good king who understands and knows our trials, temptations and tests in life.

Stephen pointed out the Greek word for “tempt” is peirazo. It can also mean “test.” Monday’s verses this week are some examples of where scripture uses this same word (peirazo) as a test as opposed to a temptation. You might find it helpful in this week’s verses to interchange the word “tempt” and “test.” 

INVITATION:  You are invited this week into a deeper study of the temptation of Jesus. Keep in mind as you go through the week that “No temptation (test) has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And GOD IS FAITHFUL; He will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (or tested), He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  I Corinthians 10:13.  May you take comfort this week in knowing the king we serve knows and understands you in very real and personal ways. 

MONDAY:  Matthew 4:1; Matthew 19:3; Matthew 16:1; Hebrews 11:17:  How does it help you to understand the temptation of Christ to think of Jesus' temptation as a test? These verses are examples of a test of knowledge, a test of proof of ability, or a test of devotion and submission to God. How does it comfort and help you to know Jesus was tempted and tested in his earthly life?

TUESDAY:  Matthew 4:1-2: After 40 days of fasting, Jesus’ need for food was understandably acute. Satan uses this legitimate need to tempt Jesus to “prove” his significance and power.  Sometimes our temptation and testing results from similar legitimate needs. What needs do you have in your life right now that might be a source of temptation or testing?  Are you tempted to meet those needs in ways counter to what God might have for you? How might the strength Jesus exhibits and the words he speaks encourage you during your trials and testing? 

WEDNESDAY:  Matthew 4:-3-4 & Deut. 8:1-3:  This is Jesus’ first test. Interestingly, Jesus uses the words of the Old Testament (all from Deuteronomy) as responses to Satan’s temptations. This is significant because in Deuteronomy, Moses is instructing the people before entering the Promised Land, reminding them of what they went through during 40 years in the wilderness and how they repeatedly failed to trust God.  Jesus, of course, passes the tests during his 40 days in the wilderness.  The Israelites did not trust God to deliver, despite having been miraculous released from slavery.  They did NOT pass the test. Are there any ways you are not trusting God in your life situation right now?  How can you give those situations over to the God that knows, understands and has even experienced the same thing? 

THURSDAY: Matthew 4:5-7 & Deut. 6:16: The main issue here is not trusting that God is truly with you.  Have you had periods in your life when you doubted God’s presence? How might you stand on TRUTH over feelings this week and live and trust knowing that God goes with you and is right by your side?

FRIDAY:  Matthew 4:8-11 & Deut. 6:13-14: What about “other Gods” in your life? Where are your priorities and desires? Would you consider praying today to ask for God’s help in making only Him Lord of your life? 

SATURDAY: Hebrews 2:17-18 and Hebrews 4:15: Jesus “had to be made like them.”  That means like you and like me.  He had to become man to experience all the things we experience. Jesus can “empathize with our weaknesses” and has “been tempted in every way, just as we are.”  How might you thank Jesus for this today? How might this help you pray more vulnerably and truthfully in the future? Remember from our Romans series that “there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ.” (Romans 8:1)  Jesus knows. Jesus understands. You can be honest and open with King Jesus. He is a good King.