The Temptation of Christ and Discerning God’s Call: Choosing a Life of Service in a World that Values Wealth, Status and Power
Welcome to “Bible Study for Progressives,” a show where moderates, liberals and leftists of all faiths and ideologies come together to discuss scripture, spirituality and politics.
Today we will be reading from the Gospel of Matthew. Then we will discuss "The Temptation of Christ and Discerning God's Call: Choosing a Life of Service in a World That Values Wealth, Status and Power (Matthew 4:1-11).
In all three gospels, immediately after Jesus is baptised, he goes into the wilderness to be tempted for forty days. The number forty is significant and has symbolic meaning.
There are a number of uses of the number forty in the Bible. Moses, for example, spent forty days and nights with the Lord on Mount Sinai. He returned with the ten commandments. (Exodus 34:28). It rained for forty days and nights when God destroyed the world in a flood (Genesis 7). The resurrected Jesus appeared to his followers for forty days before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:3). As David Ewart points out, the number forty indicates that God is about to do something holy and extraordinary.
God called Jesus to ministry at his baptism, and the temptation was a part of the process of discerning that message. What does the story of the temptation of Christ mean? Why is it important? What does it mean to be tested? Does this story contain lessons for overcoming temptation in our lives today. Is testing a part of discerning our calling and vocations? How and for what reasons are we tested? Have you had an experience that lead you to your vocation?
Our reading and panel of commentators will address these and other questions.