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Provision, Protection, Position: Satan vs. Jesus

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Introduction

Arlonzo Williams Professor Hylen RLST 109- Themes of NT October 1, 2007 Provision, Protection, Position: Satan vs. Jesus The story of Jesus's temptation is depicted in both Matthew and Luke in great detail. Both Matthew and Luke use similar language to describe the devil's attempt to persuade Jesus to betray God and serve him. In Matthew 1:21, an angel tells Joseph in a dream that the reason Jesus has come to Earth '[because] he will save his people from their sins'. In order to save humanity from sin, Jesus needed to show us how to handle problems that we will face in our life; the best way to do that is to go through them himself and show how to use scripture to keep from sinning. Matthew writes the temptation story to show Jesus as an interpreter of the scripture; he does this because Jesus came to save humanity via living a holy and perfect life while going through human problems like temptation from the Devil and, as such, must be able to use biblical scripture correctly to refute sin. This is shown through 3 different forms of sin: physical, mental, and spiritual. The first attempt of the Devil to tempt Jesus is physically. At this point, Jesus has not eaten for 40 days in the wilderness. ...read more.

Middle

First, the Devil takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in the 'holy city' and tells him to throw himself to the ground. One difference between Matthew and Luke, the other gospel that goes into a very detailed description of Jesus's temptation, is that the 'holy city' is not named in Matthew but in Luke is called Jerusalem. The second part of the sentence is his justification as to why Jesus should follow his command. The Devil, knowing the scriptures just as well as Jesus does, uses a verse from Psalms 91:11-12 to explain his request: "'He will command his angels concerning you', and 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone'." (vv.6) The scripture that the Devil quotes is true; God does say that nothing evil shall befall us if we ask for protection and it is in God's will to protect us. On the other hand, the Devil has taken the scripture out of the context it should be in and Jesus corrects him with another scripture from Deuteronomy: "Do not put the Lord you God to the test". (vv. 7, cf. Deut. 6:16) Christians are supposed to have faith in the Lord and call on his name in times of trial or tribulation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Later on in Matthew, Jesus discusses serving two masters and how that is not possible as a Christian: "No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." (Matt. 6:24) God makes it very clear: you are either on God's side or Satan's side and, like Jesus, a clear decision must be made. Jesus's interpretation of the scripture made a clear decision about whom he was going with and why. Immediately, Satan leaves Jesus and the angels tend to Jesus. The devil flees with the knowledge that he could not and cannot get to Jesus. Also, just as Jesus defended earlier, God was waiting to help him as angels come to assist Jesus after the temptations. (Matt. 4:11) Jesus is the savior for humanity; his life should be an example for us to live by and learn from. He has been shown to interpret scripture in order to help us defeat sin in our everyday life. Matthew's presentation of Jesus's temptations demonstrates one of many ways Jesus has taught Christians to live with evil. Using scripture correctly and having faith in not only God but his promises and Word allow Christians to fight the devil on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. ...read more.

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