Sunday, April 1, 2012


A bit late for this study, but it's good anytime during Lent. The idea is a powerful one from Philip Yancey, and the starter question was a good one all by itself.

What does it teach us about Jesus?

0) Picture Jesus. Describe what you see.

 This study is adapted from Chapter 4 of Philip Yancey’s book The Jesus I Never Knew.  The idea of the book is that Mr. Yancey tries to set aside all his preconceptions about Jesus, and then look freshly at scripture to see what God’s Word has to say.

1)    Before we read the account freshly, what comes to you when you think of Jesus’ temptation in the desert?

Mark mentions the temptation briefly in Mark 1:12-13, but Matthew gives a fuller account in Matthew 4:1-11.  Take a moment to read Matthew’s account, which follows the story of Jesus being baptized by John.

Matthew 4:
1Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2Jesus did not eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of that time, he was hungry.  3The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”

 4Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘A person cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks.’ ”

 5Then the devil took him into the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. 6He said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, jump! Scripture says, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock.’ ”

 7Jesus said to him, “Again, Scripture says, ‘Never tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

8Once more the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms in the world and their glory. 9The devil said to him, “I will give you all this if you will bow down and worship me.”

 10Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! Scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ”

 11Then the devil left him, and angels came to take care of him.

2)    What other bible passages or stories does this remind you of?

3)    Are the tasks Satan asks Jesus to do evil in and off themselves?  What does that mean about why the devil is asking them?

4)    What did the Jews think the Messiah was going to be like? How do the temptations relate to the expectations?

5)    Yancey contrasts his own temptations (the most common human ones), which revolve around lust and greed and so on, with those of Jesus.  One way he thinks about this is that Jesus’ temptations were connected with his mission in becoming human.  What connections do you see?

6)    Yancey describes Jesus reaction to his temptations as the “miracle of restraint.”  He could have done the tasks, he could have crushed Satan, but he didn’t.  Yancey notes that power can force obedience, but only love can evoke love.  Do you agree?  Why or why not?

7)    Where else in scripture do we see restraint as a response from Jesus or from the Father?

James 1:
12Blessed are those who endure when they are tested. When they pass the test, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13When someone is tempted, he shouldn’t say that God is tempting him. God can’t be tempted by evil, and God doesn’t tempt anyone. 14Everyone is tempted by his own desires as they lure him away and trap him. 15Then desire becomes pregnant and gives birth to sin. When sin grows up, it gives birth to death.

 16My dear brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled. 17Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars. The Father doesn’t change like the shifting shadows produced by the sun and the moon.

 18God decided to give us life through the word of truth to make us his most important creatures.

8)    How does his advice relate to Jesus’ temptation in the desert?

9)    Jot down one thing you’d like to remember from this study.

Photo credit: biblevector @ Flickr

No comments:

Post a Comment