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Relevant Biblical Passages: Isa. 53; Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; 16-28; John 6:1-15

A Surprising Messiah. Many passages in the Old Testament could be taken to suggest that the Messiah would sweep away the enemies of God’s people. Yet Jesus chose to focus on the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 as his model. As a result, though he was a popular preacher and healer, no one was excited about the very heart of his message, namely, that he had come to suffer and die. None of the disciples wanted to believe it; none of the Jews wanted to believe it. But throughout his life, several key events highlighted the “truth” about God, namely that God’s love is a giving love, not a demanding one; it is a giving love that goes all the way to the cross.

The Temptations: Matthew 4:1-11//Luke 4:1-13. What are the essential “tests” of each of the temptations:

  1. Stones to bread:
  2. From the pinnacle of the temple:
  3. The promise of all the kingdoms of the world:

Rejection at Home: Luke 4:16-28. If Jesus’ own family and friends rejected his mission, where was the source of his strength?

Rejection of the Bread of Life: John 6:1-15. The people really wanted Jesus to satisfy their temporary needs. When he told them that his kingdom focused first on spiritual values, many turned away from him. Is there evidence that he was tempted to go the temporal glory route?

Crucial Questions:

1. What parallels can we draw between Jesus’ temptations and our personal temptations?

2. What parallels can we draw between Jesus’ temptations and the temptations facing the church as an institution?

3. Is it possible that we could be committing the same mistakes as the Jews in aligning ourselves on the wrong side of the conflict — without even being aware of it?

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