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BONUS GEM#3 Setting: Follow Jesus by reciting God's Promises when “Tempted in all things. “
nsights inspired by Bible Scholar, Cobbey Crisler for a Matthew 4 citation in The Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on “Christ Jesus” for February 28, 2021

offered by Warren Huff, CedarS Executive Director Emeritus
(and Founder of CedarS Bible Lands Park and of CedarS online Bible-based offerings)

Follow Jesus by memorizing (paying loving attention to) God’s Bible-based commands and promises so that you too will pass your wilderness, divine identity tests like he did!

Here are some Facets surrounding Jesus’ words & deeds in Matthew 4:17, 23 (citation B3) to help them, and YOU, to shine even more brightly!
[Cobbey Crisler on Jesus’ temptations, Matthew 4:
1-11, 23:]
“There is what we might call an identity-crisis test in Chapter 4 (of Matthew). The Anglo-Saxon word “tempt” has almost picked up a theological meaning. It really means “test.” That’s what the word means. It’s a test. (Verse 1) So, “Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness” to be tested on the fact that had recently been revealed (directly from God in Matthew 3:17 (and Mark 1:11) that Jesus was God’s “Beloved Son”).
Verse 2. “After forty days and nights he’s hungry.”
This reminds me of Moses. He, too, had that testing period (Exodus 24:18) just prior to receiving the Ten Commandments. For forty days and forty nights. This Chapter in Matthew is just prior to the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes. This preparation is the same. And there is a test.
Verse 3. “When the tester comes,” here it is, question Number 1: “If you are the Son of God.” Why would that even have emerged if we had not had Verse 17 in the preceding chapter? “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The test question is, “If you are,” then what? “Command that these stones be made bread.”

How does Jesus respond to this test question? He quotes Scripture. Notice how Jesus responds to temptation. If this is the way Jesus elects to respond to it, what about you and me? How eloquent might you or I try to get when we respond to temptation? Make up original sermons, choose our words carefully, perhaps?

Jesus decided the best defense was Scripture. This verse is taken from Deuteronomy 8, Verse 3. Deuteronomy is a law book. In fact, the word in Greek deuteros nomos is the second law or the repetition of the law. How did he regard this test by Satan? What was going on in Jesus’ thinking here? Had he isolated it completely?

“First of all, what does Satan mean in Hebrew? Accuser. It is also the term for prosecuting attorney. If he has the prosecuting attorney accusing in thought, Jesus in his defense cites what? The law. He quotes the law book. He doesn’t need to do anything original. The law is the law and it never varies. Therefore, what is being suggested her by Satan, or the prosecuting attorney is illegal. It is illegitimate. He proves it by citing the law. That’s a marvelous technique for us in the middle of temptation.

“Our consciousness is like a law court. And the plusses and minuses that occur there have to be dealt with, as in a law court. Where are the accusations coming from? The prosecuting attorney or Satan. Where do we get the information? The law book or the defense attorney.

“You know that Jesus promised that something would come after he had left. It’s been translated “the comforter” in the gospel of John. The Greek word is parakletos, sometimes transliterated as paraclete. In Greek it can be the technical term for defense attorney.

“Verse 4. So, where did Jesus turn for his protection and defense, the defense of his manhood, the defense of his sonship with God, which is a spiritual fact revealed directly to him by God? How does he defend it? By citing the law book, utilizing the Comforter or defense attorney against the arguments of Satan. If Jesus had to do that, can we do anything less? “Man shall not live by bread alone,” Jesus said, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” That is a great statement for survival in an emergency….

Verse 5. But Satan isn’t through yet, is he? Next thing, take Jesus out of the wilderness, and move him into an entirely different environment. The sophistication of organized religion, ecclesiasticism. “Take him to the very pinnacle of the Temple.”

Verse 6. Show him everything that could belong to him ecclesiastically if he would only go via the world’s route by following devilish suggestions. “If thou be the son of God,” the same test question again. “Cast thyself down.” Notice the suggestion is that Jesus do it himself. Apparently Satan knew that it would not succeed trying to cast Jesus down. If Satan couldn’t do it, the only way that it could be done would be for Jesus to do it to himself.”

In verse 6 we find that Satan is quoting Scripture, “It is written, He will give his angels charge concerning thee.” In fact, that is a very key attempt by Satan. Why? Satan discovered what Jesus’ defense was, namely Scripture. O.K., if that’s the way you want it, the devil can use Scripture for its purposes. But the devil doesn’t know much beyond the 91st Psalm and everybody knows that. So, Satan quotes, “It is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear you up.” You see, there is nothing to worry about, Jesus, even Scripture now backs you, so leap down.

Verse 7. Jesus doesn’t react. It’s reaction in Judo that is taken advantage of by your opponent. Jesus doesn’t react. Simply quotes once again the law book. This come from Deuteronomy 6, verse 16. “It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” You cannot test God and His revealed Word. The high quality of Jesus’ discernment and his thought is not sufficient to dismiss Satan after one temptation, or even a second one. How valuable is the quality of persistence! Supposed Jesus had given up after the second time, “I already covered this ground.” Or listened to Satan, but he doesn’t.

Verse 8. The third charge or accusation occurs, “the devil takes him into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world.”

“All these things being offered to Jesus are to a degree a kind of power. He was offered personal power by changing stones to bread. Then he was offered priestly power if he’d go for the argument to be the head of ecclesiasticism. And he was offered political power by being shown all the kingdoms of the world.

“All those temptations that hit human nature… We are in the wilderness at some point along with Jesus having the exact same tests applied to us. How are our responses to those exam questions? Do we pass with flying colors?…

Verse 10. We find that Jesus answers and that the only thing he says that’s original, “Get thee behind me Satan.” He dismisses the prosecution in thought, “for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shall thou serve.” That’s kind of a combination of Deuteronomy 6, verse 13 and Deuteronomy 10, verse 20.

Verse 11. Look at what happens. “The devil leaveth him.” No longer is there dualism in thought. “Angels came and ministered unto him.” True communication completely governed his thought, no longer a divided kingdom. The false communication is dismissed.”

Verse 23. And “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” Here are human problems that had defied solution, and Jesus solved them all based on his concept of theology, namely the kingdom. Remember a kingdom is not chaos. It’s an ordered government of heaven and harmony at hand.”
“Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master, A Tax Collector’s Report,”
by B. Cobbey Crisler*

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