Our journey through Psalms will begin March 1st and run for five weeks. During our study we will look at how the book was used by the Hebrew people and continues to be used by Jewish and Christian believers today. We will use the different genres of poetry found throughout as our entry point into these ancient texts.
YouTube videos with accompanying study guides will be uploaded every Wednesday until Holy Week.
4 The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert, so that the devil could test him. 2 After Jesus had gone without eating for 40 days and nights, he was very hungry. 3 Then the devil came to him and said, “If you are God’s Son, tell these stones to turn into bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “The Scriptures say:
‘No one can live only on food. People need every word that God has spoken.’ ”
5 Next, the devil took Jesus into the holy city to the highest part of the temple. 6 The devil said, “If you are God’s Son, jump off. The Scriptures say:
‘God will give his angels orders about you. They will catch you in their arms, and you won’t hurt your feet on the stones.’ ”
7 Jesus answered, “The Scriptures also say, ‘Don’t try to test the Lord your God!’ ”
8 Finally, the devil took Jesus up on a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms on earth and their power. 9 The devil said to him, “I will give all this to you, if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus answered, “Go away Satan! The Scriptures say:
‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ”
11 Then the devil left Jesus, and angels came to help him.
Every year we begin Lent with the story of Jesus being tempted in the desert. This story has a lot of symbolism in it, and the early Christian church would have recognized the connections between Jesus and Moses, and the other stories in the Hebrew Scriptures. The forty days, for instance, was the same length of time Noah was in the ark, that Moses was in the mountains, that Goliath challenged David, and that Elijah walked before reaching Mount Hebron. We also have he Hebrews in the desert for 40 years.
Lent is 40 days. (We take Sundays off because Sundays are holy days and we should be able to praise on those days.)
This is where we encounter the character ‘Satan’ for the first time. In Hebrew this word was “ha-satan”, meaning the satan. It wasn’t a real name, it was a description. Ha in Hebrew means ‘the’, and satan meant the tempter or challenger. It was the job of ha-satan to test Jesus to make sure Jesus remained focus on what God wanted him to do and didn’t get distracted by an easier life.
Ha-satan tempted Jesus in three ways. 1. Get what you want by changing stones into bread. 2. Force God to save you by making unsafe choices. 3. Worship me and I’ll give you all the money and power you want.
Jesus said no each time. He told ha-satan, and reminded himself, that we are to trust God’s word, not challenge God for proof of God’s power, and find our value in God’s teachings, not in money and power.
Matthew6 When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your Father in heaven.
2 When you give to the poor, don’t blow a loud horn. That’s what show-offs do in the synagogues and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
3 When you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know about it. 4 Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret and will reward you.
5 When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
6 When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private and will reward you.
16 When you go without eating, don’t try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17 Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then others won’t know you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you.
19 Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20 Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21 Your heart will always be where your treasure is.
Matthew17 Six days later Jesus took Peter and the brothers James and John with him. They went up on a very high mountain where they could be alone. 2 There in front of the disciples, Jesus was completely changed. His face was shining like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
3 All at once Moses and Elijah were there talking with Jesus. 4 So Peter said to him, “Lord, it is good for us to be here! Let us make three shelters, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While Peter was still speaking, the shadow of a bright cloud passed over them. From the cloud a voice said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him. Listen to what he says!” 6 When the disciples heard the voice, they were so afraid they fell flat on the ground. 7 But Jesus came over and touched them. He said, “Get up and don’t be afraid!” 8 When they opened their eyes, they saw only Jesus.
9 On their way down from the mountain, Jesus warned his disciples not to tell anyone what they had seen until after the Son of Man had been raised from death.
Trans means change, and Transfiguration means the person of Jesus, his ‘figure’, changed. He was still himself, but there was a new sense of purpose and this time Jesus’ closest friends were there to witness Jesus once again being given the responsibility to make the world different. The disciples were told that Jesus was the one to listen to.
In the Hebrew tradition, Moses represented the laws of the faith, and Elijah represented all the prophets who encouraged people to follow God’s teachings. It is interesting hearing this story in Matthew after we have been assured during the Sermon on the Mount in Chapter 4, that everything Jesus said followed the teachings of both Moses and Elijah.
The earliest followers of Jesus were still trying to figure out how important Jesus was compared to those two great men of the Hebrew tradition. This story shows that all of them, Jesus, Moses and Elijah, were in agreement and socialized together, however Jesus was the one with the message that was now to be followed.
Jesus was not going to say anything from either Moses or Elijah was wrong or needed to be changed, he was going to take those teachings and explain them further so people could do what God wanted them to do.
At the moment, Debb and Deb are taking some time off to deal with Real Life. We’ll be back soon with new episodes, but please feel free to enjoy one of our earlier episodes: Mary Magdalene Truth Bombs.