The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.
This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.
We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.
Brief Commentary and Context
(Answer this question here: What did this mean in the original context and how is it set in the larger story of the Bible?)
The Gospel- The gospel means ‘good news’- the good news of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. It is the message that Jesus is Lord and the Kingdom of God is now accessible on earth as it is in heaven through him unto a whole new creation. The gospel is the power of God for the salvation and transformation of all who put their trust in Jesus.
Brief Commentary for Matthew 4:1-11- “Jesus was led not to the bright lights of the city but the inhospitable reality of the wilderness. Sometimes the Spirit’s leading is not where we might expect it. The wilderness as we have come to learn however is the painful gift which reveals where the true source of our identity is found. One might have thought Jesus' years in relative obscurity were over but 40 days alone in the harshness of the wilderness lay ahead for Him. The 30 patient years before had laid the deep foundation of identity. Now all of what was formed in these years would be put to the test in the desolate wastelands of the Judean desert. As Jesus fasted and prayed through 40 days, ‘wild animals and the angels’ surrounded him. This was a mixture of intense spiritual warfare and grueling physical endurance, a test that would have pushed the most experienced adventurer to breaking point. Matthew, a master in understatement, says that at the end of these 40 days, ‘he was hungry!’ Imagine Jesus physically weak, mentally stretched and emotionally drained. Satan seized his moment. Three times Satan came to Jesus. His primary tactic hadn’t changed. Deception. The grandmaster of identity theft we discovered in The Fall, launched the same attack upon Jesus he had on Adam and Eve. Each time Satan came to Jesus he quoted scripture twisting God’s word to distort the truth. But this time it didn’t work. Ironically while Jesus body was weak, His spirit had never been stronger. Jesus may have been fasting but He was also feasting on the Father’s words which had spoken right into the core of His being, ‘you are my beloved Son and in whom I am well pleased.’ Jesus was ready.
The First Temptation: ‘if you are the Son of God tell these stones to become bread.’ The first temptation was for Jesus to find pleasure and provision outside of the presence of God. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus wanted Satan to know he didn’t need to self provide. He was more than satisfied in the Father’s words.
The Second Temptation: From the highest point of the temple Satan came again, ‘if you are the Son of God throw yourself down…for it is written: He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands…’ The second temptation was to strive for prestige and performance outside God’s will for your life. Jesus' response to Satan this time was, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” This time Jesus reminds Satan, He doesn’t need to do something spectacular to prove Himself, He trusts the Father’s plan for His life.
The Third temptation: As Jesus looked out over the world from a high mountain Satan whispered, ‘All this I will give to you if you will bow down and worship me.’ The final temptation was to seize power and position outside of beloved sonship. Jesus responded, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. Jesus' final rebuke is one of scorn.! He wanted Satan to know He doesn’t need fame. Who the Father says He is is more than enough.
Pleasure and provision; prestige and performance; power and position - all of these are ways of finding identity outside of the Father’s love. Every time the enemy comes Jesus pushes him back with the word of God. Jesus will not be lured out of his beloved identity into the idolatry of self. Spiritual warfare, we learn, isn’t a degree in demonology. It is the ability to stand in secure sonship. Jesus had been tempted in every way a human being can be but as a new Adam and a true Israelite He stood His ground and resisted the demonic assault. He overcomes where both Adam (in the garden) and Israel (in the wilderness) had failed. The foretold Serpent Crushing Liberator promised from the Garden of Eden had come into the world as a confident beloved Son.”
Core Truths from the Topic and Summary Scripture
Summary Scripture: Heb. 2:17-18- “For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
The humanity of Christ refers to the reality that in his incarnation, the Son of God assumed a complete human nature with all its limitations (but without in any way surrendering his divinity), so that he might serve as humanity’s representative, substitute, and example. (The Gospel Coalition)
The eternal word, 2nd person of the Trinity became flesh, born of a virgin named Mary (Luke 1:29-37)
Jesus is fully God and fully human made like us in every way. (Philippians 2:6-11)
Jesus fully revealed the Father. (Hebrews 1:2-3)
Jesus embodied perfect love for God and people in complete obedience to the Father. (John 14:31)
Jesus was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin and is therefore able to both save us and sympathize with our weakness. (Hebrews 4:15)
The first Adam chose his own will and way in the Garden of Eden , the second Adam, Jesus, tempted by the enemy in the wilderness and stripped of everything, chose God’s will and way. (Matthew 4:1-11)
“Jesus was a new kind of man. He would not believe the terrible lie that the enemy spoke. Jesus knew God loved him and He would trust God no matter what.” (The Jesus Storybook Bible)
Learn the Tool: The Gospel and the Gift
Extra Resources to help you Prepare
https://allnations.us/uncategorized/identity-and-worth-in-christ/ (blog post on identity and what Jesus was tempted in in the wilderness)
Jesus Journey by Trent Sheppard https://a.co/d/ecp6N4u