(From today's Reading in The One Year Bible)
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)
Jesus said these words to Satan himself after fasting for 40 days. He was hungry and turning stones into bread was a fabulous idea! The Devil knows just when to show up and tempt us--never at a convenient moment or a time of our choosing.
The thing is, Jesus had the ability to do it. He could have rationalized that 40 days is enough fasting to demonstrate his consecration to His Heavenly Father. He could have justified it based on his physical needs, knowing that anything past 40 Days, moves into literal starvation. This is the sort of temptation that we all face--subtle, reasoned, difficult to resist. But Jesus shows us the way out.
He quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, a reference to God's provision for his people in the wilderness. Manna was God's way of letting his people know that His word to them was true, no matter how difficult the wilderness would become. Their feeble attempts to provide for themselves was swallowed up by God's promise, God's words, and God's provision.
Jesus resisted the temptation to turn stones into steaming wheat bread, because He was choosing to rely on his Father to provide instead of relying on himself. He chose to listen to his Father's voice instead of listening to his own voice, or even the Devil's voice. He listened. He trusted. He yielded. And this moment of conquering temptation unleashed three incredible years of miracles, healing, signs, and wonders. He passed the test. He unlocked the future. He revealed his sinless character. He surrendered to God's perfect plan.
Would you be willing to rely on God in this way? Would you be willing to listen? Would you hunger for Him more than anything else in your life? Would you resist the temptation to produce for yourself, and wait on God's timing, ability, and provision for you? I'll bet the next three years of miracles might be worth it! Pray to hunger for More of God.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
(From today's One Year Bible reading)
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20 (NLT)
When Jesus made this offer to the disciples they were already good fishermen. They could not have known what was ahead for them—that their world would be turned upside down as they followed the master and learned an entirely new vocation. That they would see miracles, signs, and wonders like no one else. That they would have front row seats to the unfolding drama of the Messiah playing out before them!
They weren’t rabbi material, so they were never chosen to be mentored by any of the other Jewish teachers. But Jesus called to them and promised to train them, and show them how to fish for people.
Do you know how to fish for people? I’m not sure it comes naturally to any of us. We don’t think of it like fishing most of the time. We think of it like learning sales techniques, or developing persuasion powers. But, Jesus said, I’ll show you how to fish for people. Put aside your 21st century American cynicism and thoughts of trying to place a hook in their mouths with the gospel.
Consider that fishing is more of an art form than it is a sport, or even a technique. Consider that fishing doesn’t always yield fish—at least that’s how I always experienced it as a child. Consider that fishing is more of a culture where people constantly talk about what kind of bait catches what kind of fish, and during what time of year, with what kind of lure, bobber, or thingy-ma-jig.
If you’re going to fish for a living, you have to immerse yourself in it! I wonder if Jesus was saying, “I’m going to immerse you in a culture of loving, serving, and meeting the needs of people, in every kind of way you can imagine.” I wonder if they heard it like that? They knew what fishing required. They must have known it would be an amazing adventure…at least that’s what it seems like based on their response.
Verse 20, “And they left their nets at once and followed him.”
Let’s choose the adventure of what Jesus wants to show us about people. Let’s pray that we would learn the ways of Jesus, to look for people who are lost, in need, disenfranchised, wandering, and waiting. Let’s ask God to immerse us in a culture where we become experts in how the Kingdom of God attracts people. Let’s ask for patience to wait. Let’s ask for greater skill, and more attentiveness to the ways of Jesus. And let’s pray that we would not hesitate to follow Him.