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40: The Temptation of ChristSample

40: The Temptation of Christ

DAY 1 OF 5

1. Wilderness

In the earliest documentation of the portion of Matthew with the heading "The Temptation of Jesus", there is a reference to the wilderness. Some translations of the Bible refer to the wild, but most refer to wilderness — a virtual and literal wasteland where the sky is brighter, the air is clearer, and the sun is brighter. This kind of wilderness to which Jesus was led is a natural irony in that it is useless yet pure . These first verses of Matthew 4 don't tell us why the wilderness would be the place for Jesus to be tempted, but it isn't necessary. The wilderness has always been a place where we are called into greater knowledge. 

For Jesus, the wilderness was a literal place but for us today it may be represented in many, less literal ways. While Jesus' wilderness was likely void of humanity, our wilderness may be filled with family, friends, acquaintances, and other relationships; while Jesus' wilderness was barren, our wilderness may be rich with options; while Jesus' wilderness was quiet, our wilderness may be characterized by an overabundance of noise. 

While we may understand the attributes of wilderness through our own experiences, the wilderness Jesus experiences at the onset of his temptations lies at the end of a trail of blood tracing from Eden's edge. The temptations of Jesus are tests. Not the kind of will-he-or-won't-he-pass tests, but a kind of test that reveals character. Moments of affirmation and seasons of trial for Jesus are similar to the ebb and flow of our own lives. We will have wilderness experiences just as we have seasons of rest and healing. Jesus models for us both obedience to God's direction and how to navigate these intermittent seasons. 

Talk It Over:

1. In what circumstances do you tend to "feel" the wilderness in your heart, mind, or soul?

2. What characterizes these wilderness moments or places in your life?

3. How can you use time in the wilderness — be it momentary disorientation, solitude, or spiritual dryness — to know God more intimately or understand what He is revealing to you more clearly?

Day 2

About this Plan

40: The Temptation of Christ

This plan will walk you through and unpack Jesus and the 40 days he spent in the wilderness.

We would like to thank Collide Media Group for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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