04.5 BSF Matthew Week 4, Day 5

Today’ Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

First, I was struck by the calling of the first apostles.  Not so much in what they were called to do, but in what they were not called to become.

Jesus didn’t call them to become high priests.  He didn’t call them to become the pharisees or Sadducees.  He didn’t call them to become government leaders.  He called to be who they were, but to be it for Him.

We forget this.  We think that to serve God we must become someone else.  If I am a fisherman, Jesus calls me to be a fisher for Him.  If I am a laborer, I am called to labor for Him.  If I am a teacher, to become a teacher for Him.  Our “market place skills” are not something to diminish or discard in our following of Christ, they are simply God-given gifts to be redirected to serve Him.

Second, I was struck by the duality of Jesus message and ministry.  He came with power and compassion, with retribution and love.  He calls us to repentance and joy.  But, in our way of looking at things, these can often seem like opposites.  When we think about being repentant, we think about being sorrowful and mournful not filled with joy and celebration.

But we forget (or are in denial that) we are caught in a trap.  Look at how many times and ways the word “snare” is used throughout the old testament.  We have gone off the path and have been caught in the snare of sin.  Jesus screams to us to cry out.  Not over anguish that we have been snared, but so that He can set us free and carry us back to the path of righteousness.  Jesus said repent AND be healed.  Not only did He say it – He did it for all to see.  The gospel is Good News!

My Answers:

8.
a.
He lived in Capernaum by Zebulun and Naphtali
A shoot came up from the stump of Jesse (the Vine – Jesus)

b.
All old testament prophecy ultimately points to the arrival of Christ.  He didn’t do things to “fulfill prophecy”, more what He was doing had been prophecied

9.
a.
At once they left and followed Him

b.
I will send you out to fish for people

c.
Most of my ministry is to children.  There is no earthly recognition or gain from this, no earthly profit, but it honors my God.

10.
a.
Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near – proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, healing

b.
Same message, but he took the batton to the conclusion of the race.  He not only washed, but he healed (both physically and spiritually).

c.
That the time of salvation through the Son of God, a descendant of David, the Messiah, had arrived

11.
a.
He came with retribution&power against sin and those who choose the path, AND with compassion and love.  Not to destroy, but to save out of the clutch of sin.  He came for a time of repentance AND joy (they go together) Judges 2:3 their gods (false idols) will become a snare to you. Ps 18:15 the snares of death confronted me, Ps 25:15 the Lord, only he will release snare (see also Acts 1:22, Ps 147:3)

b.
He is King and Lord and never sets that aside.  He has full power to justly punish sin and sinners alike.  And, He, through benevolance and grace chooses to lift me up to be considered not just his servant, but also His son.

04.4 BSF Matthew Week 4, Day 4

Today’ Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Satan has no new tricks.  There is no new temptation, just the same old same old that mankind has faced forever.

The first temptation Satan attempts with Jesus is for a prophet.  We often think about the “turn these rocks to bread” as a temptation of hunger, but it is deeper.  It is a temptation of self reliance, to take matters into your own hands.  This was the temptation that snared Moses.  Number 20:8-12 tells the tale of the prophet and his yielding to temptation to put reliance on the staff in his hand instead of solely on the glory of God.

The second temptation Satan attempts is one for a king.  This is the temptation that snared David.  David knew he was chosen by God.  He knew he lived in His favor and that he could trust perfectly in God’s love and strength and backing.  And, as a result, he ventured into sin.  From his high place in the palace he looked down and saw the wife of Uriah.  He didn’t deny God or hide from God, he took God for granted.

The third temptation Satan attempts is one for spiritual being, for an angel.  This is the temptation that snared Lucifer himself and, to a certain degree, Adam and Eve.  This is the temptation to be “like God.”  To be the object of worship.  In Satan’s case his fall came when he worshiped himself above God.  He couldn’t challenge Jesus to worship Himself above God, since Jesus was God, so Satan suggested Jesus worship him.

The beauty of Jesus’ response to each of these temptations is not just that he replied solely with scripture, although that is critically important.  He looked past the challenge and looked at what the outcome of the challenge would yield – something we often forget.  For example, if Jesus had yielded to the first temptation, when all would be said and done, he would have had a loaf of bread.  We forget this.  We get so wrapped up in the challenge, the temptation itself, that we fail to look past it to the actual outcome.  Jesus did not.

The potential of the first temptation was a loaf of bread.   The potential of the second was to return to exactly where He already was at the highest point of the temple.  The potential of the third was ridiculous, to sacrifice kingship over all creation for rule over earthly kingdoms (something He already had anyway).

If we had the same eyes in our view of temptations – to look past them – what simple strength we will have to stand up under them through the Word of God.

My Answers:

6.
a.
1. Tell these stones to become bread 2. throw yourself down for scripture says angels will lift you up and not strike your foot  3. Offered all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow down and worship Satan.  Deut 8:3, Psalm 91:11-12, Deut 6:16, 13

b.
Jesus is not Moses, tempted to take matters into his own hand.  Jesus is not David in mortal battle against man and pestilence.  He did not come to earth to rule over mortal nations but to save them and in such to be their immortal king

c.
We are self reliant.  We trust in ourselves more than God.  We are in fear and call on God for protection even while we put ourselves in harms way not for His glory but for ours.  We seek power and to rule

d.
The temptations I face are nothing but garden variety temptations, faced by men over and over throughout time.  Nothing new, nothing that can’t be handled through the strength of the word.

7.
a.
The angels came and attended to him

b.
He sends someone with a kind word of encouragement that tells me it was noticed.

04.3 BSF Matthew Week 4, Day 3

Today’ Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

What is temptation?  What is the difference between temptation and testing?  Is temptation a sin? Could Jesus have yielded to temptation?  Could Jesus have sinned?

Jesus was fully man.  God gave man free will, the ability to make choices.  Jesus had this choice as does any other man.  There is no way He had less freedom than you or I.  But His choice was different.  His choice as a man reflected His strength as God.  Temptation itself is not sin.  Yielding to temptation is sin.

In examining this, it is interesting to look at how Satan tempted Jesus.  He didn’t do it with a question, as he did with Eve.  He did it with a challenge, an accusation.  Basically, he said – “prove it.”  “If you are the Son of God…”  Every proof (geometry or any other mathematics, logic, science) always starts with a postulate or axiom.  An axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy.  These are the givens.  They are the things by which every other question is answered or proven.  Prima facie.  God is truth.  God is the creator of everything.  God is the axiom.  God is the only plumb and square by which anything else can be measured.  He is the postulate and He said, “This is My son.”

But Satan requests proof.  To attempt to prove an axiom, by definition, means you remove it from being a cornerstone.  Using any other measure to determine if an axiom is true means putting faith in that measure over the axiom.

And this is the heart of temptation and sin.  Sin is simply the act of putting something else above God.  Trusting something else as being more reliable than the Word of God.  Adam and Eve did this – Eve trusted her eyes over the word of God (when she saw it was good for food and pleasing to the eye, Gen 3:6).  You and I do this when we worry, doubt, rely on self, fail to confess, accept despair or simply drift away.

But Jesus did not yield to temptation.  You don’t prove an axiom, it just is. And Jesus just is the I Am.

Please feel free to comment.

My Answers:

5.
a.
If you are the Son of God.  v3, 6

b.
Jesus was the son of God.  God Himself in voice from heaven had proclaimed it at his baptism.  The father of lies sought to have him prove it.  You don’t prove a postulate/axiom – it is self-evident.

c.
Matt:Don’t worry about clothing or food, God provides
Acts:Salvation is found in no one else but Jesus
Rom:The Spirit testifies we are God’s children – share in suffering
2 Cor:Hard pressed but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair
1 John:If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive and purify us
Heb:Pay the most careful attention to what we have heard so not drift away

04.2 BSF Matthew Week 4 Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I loved the idea of the Holy Spirit as personal trainer.  Faith is a muscle.  Temptation and testing is nothing but dead weight.  Sure, we need to be careful to not drop it on our foot, but facing and overcoming temptation is a tool to building strength when done with the right discipline and trainer.

We were told last week that the Spirit remained with Jesus.  The spirit worked with and in Jesus to prepare and strengthen Him for His calling, His mission.  His food was to do the will of Him who sent Him.  His refuge was in the Spirit.  He was training, preparing, growing stronger every hour and minute.

Part of any fighter’s training is time in the ring.  A good trainer is a good ring man, with the fighter, in their head, in their corner, coaching, encouraging.  The Spirit did this with Jesus.  For 40 days and nights They (the Trinity) spent time alone in the wilderness in preparation.  As Jesus battled the demands of his human nature and its yearnings to be fed, His spirit grew in strength and fortitude.  When Satan saw Jesus at His weakest, He was strong – not in his own human strength but in the power of the word of God.  Satan didn’t go in the ring with kid gloves, he went in swinging, but there are no new temptations and nothing as powerful as the Word.

The downside of this analogy is that every time I’ve thought about the Spirit of God this week, I keep picturing Mickey from the Rocky movies.

My Answers:

3.
a.
In the wilderness.  Led there by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil

b.
Faith is a muscle, strengthened through proper use.  Temptation is not punishment or even that we have done wrong/strayed, it is just dead weight.

4.
a.
Jesus did not add to or take from God’s word.  He also trusted it whole-heartedly in full obedience to what it says

b.
D. Satan addressed Eve with a question, Jesus with an accusation
D. Eve relied on her own eyes
D. Eve yielded to temptation and sinned
S. Satan spoke
S. Satan was crafty
S. Satan desired sin