Jesus does what Israel was supposed to do

What does a system analyst do? Or an actuary? And have you ever been hired for a job, but what you end up doing is completely different to what your job description said you would do? Israel’s history does not match at all the job description they were given. But Jesus perfectly does what Israel was supposed to do, and paves the way for us to go home to God.

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Cross, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit, Daily Devotion, Job

I’ve read many job descriptions – picturing myself in the role, perfectly fulfilling all the requirements and expectations. I picture myself forging forward, eyes always focussed on carefully devised goals and outcomes. And then… I start the job. And I get distracted by other things that come along, things that seem like good ideas, even though they aren’t in the original job description. Things that take me in different directions.

I’m kind of like Israel in the Old Testament.

Like we read about in yesterday’s Grow Daily, given the promise of a land set aside for them, they get distracted by things they feel they are missing out on, and for a generation do not enter the promised land. Given the job of being God’s chosen people, shining as lights to the nations, they often failed to fulfil this job, sometimes even running away. Israel were meant to keep their eyes on God, not looking to any other gods, temptations or distractions, and instead they allowed themselves to fall to complaining and building idols.

But in this passage we’re shown a scenario in which Jesus carries out his job description perfectly. Jesus does what Israel was supposed to do. Not looking to any other gods or distractions, he keeps his eyes on God, refuting the devil’s temptations. It’s not that Jesus wasn’t tempted. He was hungry, having just fasted for forty days and nights. But to every temptation, he answers the devil with scripture. At every point he in essence replies… “This is what God says, and God is true.”

Jesus trusts God. Jesus shows this trust in a way that Israel failed to do, keeping his eyes on God through the worst temptations possible. Shining as a light to all nations in a way that Israel failed to do, he paves the way for us to go home to God through his death and resurrection. Jesus perfectly fulfilled all that he set out to do, allowing us, people from all nations, to be united with him as children of God.

Head: What do you think caused Israel to fail in the job that God had given them?

Heart: Does it impact on the way you live for Jesus, when you reflect on the fact that he perfectly fulfilled all he came to do?

Hands: As a child of God, does your life reflect at all the “job description” God intended for his people?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you so much that you endured all temptation, and that you were able to do everything that you set out to do. We thank you that you did not give up and choose comfort, but that you died on the cross for us, saving us from our sin and failure to perfectly live for you. We praise you in all your power, and pray that you would help us day by day keep our eyes focussed on you, not falling to other distractions that draw us away from you. Amen.

A song to listen to: Spirit of Jesus

Serena Langenbruch

This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of The Jesus in series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.