Matthew 3:12 – 4:11.  Matthew also reports about Jesus’ baptism.  You may have noted that John was preaching a “baptism of repentance” but Jesus, if God, had nothing to repent of.  But if, God became incarnate to take away the sins of the world, then he needed to identify with humanity in all aspects.  Jesus hears the voice from heaven say, “This is my beloved Son, whom I love.”  Wow, what a spiritual high

         How often when we are feeling our best does some little thing send us to the depths?  Jesus has just had a spiritual experience and goes off by himself, to the wilderness, and sure enough 40 days later Satan appears to challenge his joy.  “If you are the son of God…”  Satan presents three scenarios: turn the rock to bread, jump from the temple steeple, and bow and worship me and short cut his journey.  Sigh.  How powerful that word “if” is and how doubt undermines our sense of identity.

         Interestingly Jesus responds from the written Word.  He quotes scripture.  Satan, that sly epic villain, misquotes scripture in response, taking it out of context.  Surely God would not want us to be hungry or hurt or unwise.  Surely God does not want us lonely or single or poor or sick or…whatever trial we are going through right now.  Doubting God’s Word, God’s will and God’s way is Satan’s age-old temptation.  Knowing the word in context and being in a solid group of believers who form a feedback and supportive community is important.

         Even Jesus in his incarnation knew scripture and stayed in community.  Ponder your spiritual disciplines and reflect on how they support you to know the Word.  And ponder your community of supporters.  Are they willing to speak the truth in love when you need it?  Those are friends to hold on to and life-long needed disciplines!  Blessings.

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