Extra Ordinary [Vol 1.1]
|| Welcome back,
Good to see you. ||
Last week we looked at Matthew 1 and discovered that the story of salvation began with an adopted family line, through a guy called Jesus, whose name literally means “God Saves”.
This week we are going to dig into Matthew 4, but let me encourage you to read the pages in between where you will find some crazy stories of Jesus life as a refugee, God coming through on every promise & some intense dreams. (But I won’t spoil everything, so check it out!)
So, settle your mind, get comfy, turn down the noise and read with me.
As a precursor to Matthew 4 let me encourage you to read the moments just before Jesus is led into the wilderness by the Spirit. In chapter 3 we read that Jesus was baptised. It is the first moment in Matthew that we see The Trinity so evidently expressed. Jesus (the son) is baptised, a dove (The Holy Spirit) descends and rests on him, and a voice (the Father) speaks. This moment is vital to acknowledge before we jump into Chapter 4. Jesus was coming into a place of trial, exclusion, hunger, and temptation immediately after a moment of fufillment, joy, peace and affirmation! (How often do we see that in our lives?)
Last week I sat down with one of my youth (we will call him Joe) and we were chatting about the Bible and some of our favourite passages. Joe told me that his favourite passage in the Bible is Matthew 4. At first I was a little confused… Maybe he meant Matthew 5 (I thought), Matthew 5 is a crowd favourite. But I had jumped the gun. We opened up our Bibles to Matthew 4 and he said, “SEE”, “this is my favourite passage!” The following few points come out of that conversation I had with my 13 year old buddy!
Firstly, Joe told me that one of the reasons why chapter 4 is his favourite passage is because Jesus experienced temptation like he does. But not only that, Jesus used scripture to fight off the devil’s temptations! Remember last week we talked about “tending your sword”?
Jesus tended to his sword, and it helped him fight despite feeling weak from fasting, loneliness and the come down from an amazing affirming moment with his Father. Joe told me that as he has tended to his sword, he has been able to fight off temptation just like Jesus!
Secondly, did you notice that it was the Spirit who led Jesus into the wilderness?
Jesus did not go into the wilderness because he was running from God. Or because he had made mistakes. Or that God had banished him. It was God who led him.
So often in our lives there are seasons that feel like wilderness seasons. Seasons where we feel weak, or tempted, or both! But it is in these seasons that God molds us, chisels off the junk in our life, and asks us to rely on him. Jesus grew through this season as he fasted and meditated on God’s word. If you are going through a wilderness season, maybe it is time for you to fast and read God’s word.
Finally, Joe reminded me that this wildness season happened right before Jesus began his ministry. So often in life we want to experience success and growth (me included)! So often we are aiming for the next best thing, and then a wilderness season hits us and we cry out to God “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” But it is from the place of fully relying on God, that he draws you close to himself, re-writes or re-affirms your calling, and launches you into a new season. Don’t be scared of wilderness seasons… EMBRACE THEM!
When I was 20, I was in the height of my football (soccer) career. My career didn’t go far but I was playing for my university and had climbed up the pecking order and was playing the best I had ever done in my life. It had opened up some great conversations with team mates, and I truly felt that God was using me, through sport, to reach people for him. And then it happened.
I got seriously injured. I tore my anterior cruciate ligament, fractured my knee, tore other ligaments and ripped up my cartilage. Eew. I know. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to play football again for the university and had to go through a year that consisted of two operations and weekly physio. It sucked. I was frustrated. I got angry at God and shouted at him “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!”
It was only a few years later that I realised what happened in me through that ‘wilderness season.’ It was in this season that I began to think about my future. I was flying at 200kmph playing soccer, doing school, hanging with friends, serving at church, that I never stopped. This season forced me to stop. It was during this year that God called me into ministry and I listened. I had to slow down and listen.
Don’t be scared of wilderness seasons… EMBRACE THEM!
That’s it for chapter four.
Why not comment below on what God spoke to you about?
I hope you have been encouraged to embrace the wilderness and fully rely on God!