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Luke 4:1-13

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, APRIL 18

 

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 4:1-13

BY: Jeremy Witt

One of the many reasons that Jesus came as a human being was so that we would have a Savior whom we could relate to, or to say it in a different way is for us to have One who has gone through circumstances similar to us.  If we think about it, we find commonality with someone who has gone through something we have.  It helps us build a connection or relationship.  When we are going through a difficult circumstance, it helps us to have someone else who has experienced something similar to us.  We find Jesus in a situation that we can all relate to in chapter 4.  Why was Jesus tempted?  The answer has many layers to it, more than what I can adequately put into words.  One is for us to know that we can relate.  Another reason was for Jesus to fix the sin problem from Adam.  Jesus had to endure temptation just as Adam was tempted, but Jesus resisted the urge to give in to the temptation.  He had to fix what was broken, and it began with the test of temptation.  By doing this, Jesus was setting the stage to right the original wrong from sin to enable the descendants of Adam the opportunity to be saved.

Let me also point out how some people today claim that we have enough faith that we will not have difficulty.  Some of these folks claim that if we do things God’s way that we will be blessed and not go through difficult times.  They claim that if we are faithful, we will always be beside “peaceful streams” (Psalm 23:2).  Yet time and time again throughout Scripture, we see that this idea or belief is just plain wrong.  Jesus had faith and was fully obedient to God and yet experienced difficulty.  Jesus faced temptation.  Just like we experience temptations ourselves, we have a Savior who knows temptation and yet overcame.

This is a quote from my study Bible regarding Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness.  “Sometimes we feel that if the Holy Spirit leads us, it will always be beside ‘still waters’ (Psalm 23:2) But that is not necessarily true.  He leads Jesus into the wilderness for a long and difficult time of testing, and He may also lead us into difficult situations.  When facing trials, first make sure that you haven’t brought them on yourself through sin or unwise choices.  If you find no sin to confess or unwise behaviors to change, then ask God to strengthen you for your test.  Finally, be careful to follow faithfully wherever the Holy Spirit leads.” – LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE, page 1684.

Notice verse 3, the devil makes a statement.  “If you are the Son of God . . .”  He certainly knew that Jesus was the Son of God!  He knew Jesus personally.  However, this is one of Satan’s tricks.  He gets us to question God.  Our world has certainly taken this temptation to heart today.  It is also the trick used to get Eve in the Garden.  Did God really say . . . .? 

Also, notice that some of the temptations that Satan attempted were not sinful or unlawful in and of themselves.  Notice in verse 3 the turning stone into bread.  There was nothing wrong in this all by itself.  The sin was BEHIND the temptation.  It was a short-cut to Jesus’ purpose all along.  The temptation may be to do the right action but to do it at the wrong time.  It may the right action for the wrong purposes.  “The fact that something is not wrong in itself does not mean that it is good for you at the given time.  Many people sin by attempting to fulfill legitimate desires outside of God’s will or ahead of His timetable.” 

As you read this portion of Scripture, you will see that Jesus quoted Scripture to defeat Satan.  You will also notice that even Satan quotes Scripture to Jesus in verses 10-11.  Well-meaning people may also do this to tempt other believers to choose to do things their way rather than the will of God.  If Satan will quote Scripture to mislead Jesus, other people will certainly do the same thing to others. 

We must be people who are in the Word, but also must understand that we need to rely on the Spirit to lead us and not to be misled.  May we pray for guidance and discernment to know and recognize the best ways over good ways and to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading in our lives to know what the LORD desires.

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

Luke 3:21-38

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 17

SCRIPTURE:  Luke 3:21-38

BY: Jeremy Witt

As we begin today’s reading, the first two verses (21-22) refer to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.  Our last reference to the Messiah was when Jesus was 12 years old and in the temple. (2:41) What a person would assume would be that the Messiah (Savior) would begin their ministry in the capital, not in the middle of nowhere.  Yet Jesus does this.  Jesus did not go to the Temple or to the High priest, but he went to a man who was drastically different from the rest.  Yes, John is Jesus’ cousin, but John the Baptist or baptizer was much more as we discussed in yesterday’s devotional.  He was not part of the established Jewish religion.  He was an outsider.  He spoke to everyone the same.  Everyone needed to repent and to follow God. 

This passage of Jesus’ baptism is also found in two other Gospel accounts.  They are in Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-11.  John’s Gospel account does not mention specifically mention Jesus’ baptism but does tell us what John saw in John 1:29-34.  The real question that many have about Jesus’ baptism is why?  Why would Jesus be baptized?  If He was not a sinner, why would He need to be baptized?  What was His purpose in doing this? 

The answer is multi-faceted.  Jesus did this first because Jesus came to fix the relationship with God and man.  Jesus was also both God in the flesh and yet 100% human.  Jesus was experiencing what all of humanity goes through.  Every person is born and will die as did both.  Jesus understands our condition.  Jesus experienced pain, sorrow, sadness, loss, etc in His earthly life.  Yet Jesus was without sin.  But Jesus was baptized.  He did this to be an example.  Jesus was being obedient to the purpose that God sent Him to do.  He lived His life to be our example and by being baptized, He asks those who believe in Him to be baptized as well.  Everything that Jesus asks of His disciples, He did first.  Jesus identified with us as people but yet set an example of what we are to become. 

Why are we baptized?  First, Jesus did so, so we do this to align ourselves with Christ Jesus.  He was the example and if Jesus did it, and tells us to do so, why wouldn’t we be baptized.  It also is a picture of what Jesus did for us.  Baptism is a symbolic picture of our life before Jesus, being buried (under the water) and being raised to new life (coming up out of the water.) 

This picture of Jesus’ baptism is one of the places where we can see the Trinity or the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in one place.  We read of all 3 members of the Trinity.  There is simply no easy way to explain this.  There is no example of creation that adequately shows us the humanity and divinity along with the power, sovereignty, majesty, and intricacy because there is nothing that compares.  Satan will try to mimic this in the coming days (Antichrist, false prophet, and the Beast or dragon as we read in Revelation) but he will fall short as he always has. 

In verses 23-38, we read of the lineage of Jesus.  From Adam to Joseph, we read of the genealogy of Jesus.  Matthew’s account (1:1-17) goes back to Abraham and shows that Jesus related to all Jews.  Luke’s account goes back to Adam to show that Jesus is related to all of humanity. 

I have always wondered why this is so important because honestly, my eyes glaze over the genealogies in Scripture.  Today we have the ancestry searches, because people want to know where they came from, but still, I didn’t understand this.  Then one day in seminary, I was given a book to read titled, And the Word came with Power by Joanne Shetler.  She was a missionary in the Philippines trying to translate the Bible into the native people’s language.  She had been in this one village telling stories of the Bible but finding little success until one day, she referred to the genealogy of Jesus.  The chief of the village inquired more of this story and she showed him the lineage of Jesus.  A light went off inside this man.  The man who didn’t care much for the stories of the Bible suddenly wanted more and chose to believe in Jesus.  It wasn’t just a story once the chief learned of his lineage.  He was real.  He had a family.  He had ancestors.  It made all the difference for him, but it also convinced the village to believe!  Every part of God’s Word serves a purpose whether we grasp it yet or not

Posted by Jeremy Witt with

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