What comes to mind when you think about the Devil?
Yesterday we looked at Matthew’s story of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. It was an amazing sight to see! The sky opened up. The Holy Spirit came down as a dive. God spoke out loud. And Jesus heard that he is loved by God and makes God happy. What a great day.
We might think that the next story that Matthew tells should be one about how Jesus did something spectacular like raising the dead or walking on water. Or maybe the next story should be Jesus preaching an inspiring sermon.
But the next story takes us into the desert. For 40 days Jesus will be all alone in the desert. He won’t eat anything the whole time. And the worst part – Satan is there tempting him to stop trusting God the Father. Listen to the story from Matthew’s gospel:
Matthew 1:1-10. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’
“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,
“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’”
The Devil, Satan, hates Jesus. And he really hates God the Father. Satan wants everything God does to fail. So Satan really wanted Jesus to sin in the desert. Satan wanted Jesus to sin so that he could never be our savior. Matthew tells us about three kinds of temptations that Jesus faced from the Devil. But they all had the same purpose – cause Jesus to stop trusting his Heavenly Father.
Your Father is starving you so turn stones to bread.
Your Father isn’t protecting you so jump off this building and let’s see if God will catch you.
Your Father isn’t letting you be king of the world, but I will if you bow down to me.
What did Jesus do? How did he respond to Satan each time?
He used the word of God to trust the heart of God. Jesus knows the Father loves him (remember his baptism). Jesus knows God’s plan is for him to be tempted and suffer, and even die on the cross, and THEN he will be the king of the world after he rises from the dead. But not yet. Not in the desert. Not in Satan’s way.
How does Satan tempt you to stop trusting God? How does he make you doubt what God says or try to make you think that God is bad instead of good?
How can you know that God is always good and not ever bad? Because Jesus came to earth and was tempted for us in the desert. Jesus died for us what we could never do – he was tempted and tempted, over and over again but NEVER sinned.
And do you know what that means?
It means that because Jesus is perfect he can die for our sins in our place. And it means that even when we are tempted and fail, and sin, we can be forgiven by God because Jesus never fails. And it means that when we are tempted by Satan, we are never alone. We always have Jesus with us to help us know how to trust God and make the Devil run away.
Because of Jesus we know that even if we sin we are forgiven by God.
With Jesus we can trust God when Satan tries to tempt us and not sin.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Paint rocks together. Find a rock and grab some paints and paint a word, phrase or verse that can help you escape temptation. Here’s some suggestions:
Not Today Satan – Go Away Devil – I Trust Jesus – Jesus Never Sinned – Run Away From Sin
Watch this snickers commercial together.
Talk about how when we are hungry, tired, or stressed out it is easier for us to be mean, or unkind, or sinful. Talk about ways that we can take care of ourselves so that we are less likely to give in to the temptation to be unkind.
You were perfect so that I don’t have to be. Help me to trust that you are better than any sin, just like you trusted God when you were tempted to sin.
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