SOAP on Matthew 4:10 – Real Life Has No “Easy Button”

Colorcover_2Scripture:  Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him’ " (Matthew 4:10, NRSV).

Observe the Context:  In reading Matthew 4:1-13 we see Jesus emerging from the Jordan river’s baptismal waters and being led into wilderness.  After 40 days of going without food and water Jesus is said to be "famished" (an understatement for sure!).  The Evil One (diabolos in the Greek) or Satan comes to Jesus and tempts him saying "if you are the Son of God, then …."  These words remind the reader that only 40 days earlier "a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased’ " (Matthew 3:17).  Satan comes at Jesus at a moment of weakness (when he is famished) and simultaneously compliments him on his strength (you are the Son of God).  Jesus responds by rejecting Satan with answers that reside in the Torah (see Deuteronomy 6-8) and choosing to worship only the LORD our God.

Apply the Text to My Life:  Jesus is tempted in the ways I am tempted and usually fall.  When "I am tired, I am weak, and I am worn" the Evil One tempts me and most often I want to fix it for myself, rather than let Jesus "lead me on to the light" (from Thomas Dorsey’s "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," The United Methodist Hymnal, #474).  But the Evil One also comes and says such great things about me … and I don’t want the words to stop flowing.  Jesus offers me the answer in verse 10:  "Away with you, Satan" and "worship only the Lord"  I reject Satan by depending on God’s Word ("thy word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path," Psalm 119:105) and worshipping God (and not the idols of self or others).   There is no big red easy button here (where is Staples when I need them) … I have to depend on and worship God.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, watch over me as I move through this week that I may learn to depend on you and you alone.  Teach me to worship you in solidarity with others who seek sustenance in your embrace.  Indeed teach me to love you with heart, soul, mind, and strength and my neighbor as myself.  Hear my prayer lifted in the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

SOAP = Scripture, Observation, Application, & Prayer