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Desert Temptation: Reflection on Focus (part 1)

In this week’s Sabbath School lesson, it discussed the temptations of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1–11). Immediately after Jesus’ baptism, He went into the desert to fast and pray. Jesus communed with His Heavenly Father for forty days in the wilderness. And when He was hungry and tired, the enemy approached.  

There were three things that stood out to me during my reading of the passage. First, Satan wants to distract us from having a clear picture of God.  He tries to twist things around. In the first temptation he says to Jesus, “If You are the Son of God, order these stones into bread” (v3). Jesus did not defend Himself. Jesus realizes He is not the only target of this attack. The character and ability of God the Father is also being challenged.

Jesus realizes this; and redirects the focus back to God. Christ does this in His response by using the insights gained from the stories and power of God’s Word itself. Instead of focusing a defense of Himself, Jesus stands secure in the truth. Jesus affirms God as the Giver and Sustainer of Life (v4).

Christ does this by echoing the words of Moses (Deuteronomy 8:2-5). Moses reminded the desert generation, those who grew up in the wilderness, of God’s long history of provision and supporting them.

God took care of them and provided all their needs, even when He had to discipline them. Bread and life itself come from God (Deuteronomy 8:2-5; Exodus 16).  In his speech, Moses alludes to manna God provided during the whole journey through the wilderness. Moses frequently recounted God’s gracious acts, lest they forget. And in their inattention, go astray.

Jesus looks back at the children in the desert, the manna from God, and the leadership of Moses. He draws strength and assurance from it in the face of the enemy’s attack. Jesus had a clear and intimate understanding of the power and nature of the Father. Christ’s confidence was sure and swift because He kept the focus on God.  

The process demonstrating here by Jesus is one we can use too. A clear picture and understanding of God start with awareness of Him.



Sabbath School Lesson

This reflection is based on the study of the Sabbath School Lesson (April 12, 2020)