Archive for the ‘wilderness’ tag
- The devil tempted Jesus to sin, but He did not.
- Law: The devil tempts me, and I often give in.
- Gospel: In Christ, God forgives my sin, provides all that I need for this life and the next, and gives me power to overcome temptation.
- Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus “in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Though it is possible for us to face a temptation without sinning, to what does the experience of temptation usually lead?
- We learn in Jesus’ Baptism in Luke 3:21–23 that He is the Son of God. This is reiterated in His genealogy, but Luke 3:38 also calls Him “the son of Adam.” As we reflect on the fact that Jesus was both true God and true man, what are we tempted to conclude about His temptation by Satan?
- In this lesson, we see Jesus resist Satan by relying on the Word of God alone. He used no miracles, divine power, or deep theological insights. He overcame the devil by quoting the Book of Deuteronomy three times. What might this tempt us to identify as the main point of the story?
- According to Matthew 3:13–15, why did Jesus come to be baptized by John? What does Jesus’ obedience under temptation do for us? What does Jesus’ obedience even to death on the cross do for us?
- We noted above some of the Old Testament themes that appear in the account of Jesus’ temptation. In Genesis 2:16–17, God gave Adam permission to eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. According to Genesis 3:1–3, what did Satan tempt Eve to do? In what way did she fail to respond properly? According to Exodus 17:1–7, how did the children of Israel tempt or test God in the wilderness? What is the significance of the location Massah and Meribah?
- With regard to the first temptation, we know Jesus had received confirmation of His Sonship at His Baptism. According to Luke 4:3, how does Satan challenge that Sonship? Jesus’ response in Luke 4:4 is a quotation from Deuteronomy 8:1–3. Why could Jesus confidently rely on His Father to provide for Him?
- With regard to the second temptation, Isaiah 52–53 tells us that Jesus will be the servant of the Lord who will suffer for the people but then be exalted. In Luke 4:5–7, what does Satan tempt Jesus to do? According to Luke 22:39–44, what struggle did Jesus continue to face? Jesus responds to Satan by quoting Deuteronomy 6:13. According to Deuteronomy 6:10–15, what provides the basis for serving the Lord God only?
- Finally, we see the third temptation. “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose,” wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice (Act 1, scene 3). In Luke 4:9–11, Satan rips Scripture verses out of context and makes himself sound very pious. After forty days of suffering in the wilderness, Jesus could have been aching for an external sign that His Father had not abandoned Him. Yet Jesus knew the background of Deuteronomy 6:16. In this verse, what is the significance of Massah for Jesus’ temptation? (Refer back to question 5.) According to Luke 4:13, what did Satan do after being defeated this time?
- In Satan’s first temptation of Jesus, he tempts Him to despair of God’s mercy. What is despair, why is it dangerous, and how can it be overcome?
- In the second temptation, Satan tempts Jesus toward an apparent good. Jesus came into the world to be a ruler, so why not just start now by worshiping the devil? What are some seemingly good things that tempt us? How does Jesus tell good from evil?
- In the third temptation, Satan tempts Jesus by misusing God’s Word. He quotes out of context. This happens a great deal today. Consider the following paraphrases of Scripture, and provide examples of contemporary misuses of them: “Forgive others”; “Do not judge”; “God is love.” How does Jesus resist this temptation?
- How does what happens to Jesus after His Baptism relate to our Christian life? According to
1 Peter 5:8–9, what expectation should a new Christian have after Baptism? Whom is Satan most interested in tempting? What is Satan’s ultimate goal? What is our best defense against Satan?
The text for this lesson is Numbers 21:4–9.
- As the bronze serpent was lifted up to heal and save the Israelites from the snakes, so Christ was lifted up on the cross to heal and save us from sin, death, and the devil.
- Law: Bitten and poisoned by sin and death, I complain when life is not what I want.
- Gospel: God calls me to repentance and points me to Christ, who heals me by His death and resurrection.
- What hangs on the walls in your home? What do these items represent in your life? What items would you never hang on a wall in your home?
- Forty years have passed since the Israelites first attempted to enter the Promised Land. That generation has died, and their children are nearly ready to make that land their own. The conquest has already begun. Read Numbers 21:1–5 and the parallel passage, Deuteronomy 2:1–5. Why are the Israelites upset?
- In Numbers 21:5, the Israelites call the manna they have been eating for forty years “worthless.” Why is this more serious than just complaining?
- Read Numbers 21:6. Connect this passage to the account of the fall into sin in Genesis 3. What would the Israelites have thought about immediately when they saw the serpents?
- Read Numbers 21:7–9. What is the people’s prayer? Does God answer it with a yes? Why would God answer their prayer the way He does?
- Read John 3:14–15. What prophetic message does God send by healing the Israelites through a serpent lifted up on a pole?
- Read John 3:14–15 again and this time read verse 16 as well. Does the Israelites’ encounter with the serpents highlight any specific aspect of verse 16?
- What attitudes lured the Israelites into sin? Do these same attitudes tempt us? Read 1 Corinthians 10:6–13. How does the Lord help us stand against these temptations?
- The Israelites looked to a bronze serpent on a pole and found healing. Where do we look to find the healing that God provides?
The text for this lesson is Exodus 40.
- In the tabernacle, God dwelled with His people, cleansing them and making them holy through the blood of sacrifices. In Christ, God now dwells among us, cleansing us and making us holy through Jesus’ blood, shed for us on the cross.
- Law: My sin makes me unholy and separates me from God; I am unworthy to stand in His presence.
- Gospel: God cleanses me, makes me holy, and dwells in me through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.
- If you were given the task of designing a church and money were no object, what would you include in your plans? How would you convey God’s presence and holiness through the architecture and furnishings?
- In Exodus 40, God gives Moses a design for His house during the Israelites’ time in the wilderness. Read Exodus 40:1–8. Note that verses 1–5 are concerned with the arrangement of the inside of the tabernacle, and verses 6–8 are concerned with how the area around the tabernacle is arranged. What characteristics of God are emphasized in the design of the tabernacle? What items in and around the tabernacle would have had symbolic value, and why?
- Read Exodus 40:9–15. Why does God require that everything in the tabernacle be anointed? Why are Aaron and his sons anointed? What is to be “most holy,” and why?
- Read Exodus 40:16–33. What is the refrain, repeated eight times in these verses? Why this emphasis?
- Read Exodus 40:34–38. Why would God choose to reveal Himself as a cloud in the desert? Read Exodus 19:9 and 16–20. How did the people react to God’s presence? Why was Moses unable to enter the tent of meeting after the cloud settled on it? What does this emphasize about our relationship with God apart from Jesus Christ?
- Keep in mind all the symbolism of the tabernacle and the emphasis that God’s design for His dwelling place puts on the separation between the holy and the unholy. Read Mark 15:33–34. Why would Jesus have cried out those words? Read Mark 15:37–38. The curtain in the temple is the equivalent of the screen in the tabernacle. What does its tearing symbolize?
- The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has forever changed the relationship between God and His people. We are no longer separated. Where does God meet with His people today?
- What furnishings in the church best represent the truth that we are no longer separated from God? How do we reflect this in the way that we design our churches?