Monday Reverb – 07March2022




  • When Jesus Says NO! … by GCI Equipper
  • Luke 4:1-13


  • 3 Questions You Must Answer …  by GCI Equipper

*FOOD FOR THOUGHT (A Conversation)

  • The Gospel 
  • Salvation 
  • Hell




When Jesus Says “NO!”

Luke 4:1-13 (NRSV)

Saying “no” can be hard. Even the slightest request by another is hard to say no to because we hate to disappoint. Or we may fear our “no” will create conflict or tension in our relationship. Sometimes, this hesitancy to say “no” gets us saying “yes” to things that may overextend us or obligate us to something that is not fitting. Been there?

The next time someone asks you to do something you need to say “no” to, but you are tempted to say “yes,” here’s something that may help: remember, that in every “no” there is a corresponding “yes.” For example, saying “no” to an invitation to hang out with friends after work may be because you are saying “yes” to spending time with your family. Or perhaps a “no” to help a loved one out of a jam is a “yes” to help them face the consequences of poor choices. And a “no” to that desperate plea for a donation to a charitable cause, could be your “yes” to providing for your own family.  This may be helpful, but we also admit, every “no” doesn’t always have a well-meaning “yes” as the motive.  Still, it introduces a question I would like to begin our message with.  And that is, what is the “yes” behind Jesus’ “no?”

This will be a good question to consider as we go through the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. In this one story, we hear Jesus say “no” three times as a significant part of the Gospel. This account appears in all three synoptic Gospels. It will also be a good question to consider as we begin the Season of Easter Preparation (commonly referred to as Lent) today.  Easter Preparation is a season that carries a theme of repentance and confession.  In other words, it’s a season of saying “no” with a corresponding “yes.”  As we come to know the Lord, who he is and what he has done for us, we learn to repent, or say “no” to all that is not fitting in our relationship with him, ourselves, and one another.  This repentance is also a confession, or a “yes” to all the Lord reveals to us. We come to agree, or confess, who he is and his word to us, while turning from all that is not fitting to who he is, and his word spoken to us.

So, with that in mind, let’s get into the story as Luke tells it.

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. (Luke4:1-2 NRSV)

First, we see that Jesus is returning from the Jordan. For context, Luke has led up to this story with Jesus’ baptism as well as the inclusion of Jesus’ genealogy. Both of these set the stage for the temptations the devil is about to assault Jesus with in the wilderness. In Jesus’ baptism the Father claims Jesus as his own Son. And the genealogy is constructed to work backward to Adam with the conclusion that Jesus is a “son of God.” With the combination of these two elements Luke has established Jesus’ identity as the Son of God. It is at this point in Luke’s gospel that the devil will try to tempt Jesus to doubt this very thing.

We should take note that this story about Jesus is also a story we are wrapped up in.  Jesus didn’t face the devil for his own sake, he faced and defeated him for us. Luke tells us that Jesus was “led by the Spirit in the wilderness.” So, the devil is not running the show here. Facing the devil in the wilderness is part of Jesus’ ministry initiated by the Spirit.  Jesus is facing our temptations, and he is doing it as the one who has assumed our human nature.   Jesus has given us a victory that we can participate in by the Spirit.  Without Jesus and his Spirit, we would never even put up a fight against the devil and his schemes.

It is noteworthy that the devil launches his attack right after Jesus’ baptism.  Jesus has just heard the voice of his Father claiming him as his own Son. The first thing the devil wants to do is get Jesus to doubt this voice. This is the same temptation the devil put to Adam and Eve in the Garden.  It worked the first time, but it will not work against Jesus.  Jesus is undoing Adam’s failure in the Garden by refacing the devil on the devil’s own turf, the wilderness.  This time, it will not be Adam who is banished.  The devil will be the one “departing.”

As Christians, we should be mindful of the devil’s tactics.  Note, I did not say fearful; I said mindful.  If you are a new believer recently baptized, expect the devil to tempt you to doubt God’s word to you.  For those who have been following the Lord for many years, the devil still rushes to challenge any word the Lord speaks to you. We must not assume that the devil is idle and doesn’t care whether we trust the Lord or not. No, the devil aims all his tactics and cunning at the one who is hearing and receiving God’s word to them.  The sooner he can get us to doubt God’s word, the better in his diabolical eyes. We should not be naïve and think that in our walk with God we will never find ourselves in the wilderness or without temptation. If it happened to our Lord, we can expect it will happen to us.  But Jesus has paved the way. He has already — in our stead — gained victory over the devil and his temptations. This means we are not on our own when we find ourselves in the wilderness facing intense temptation. And, we know in the end, the devil will flee.

As Jesus is led into the desert to face the devil, we are told that he fasted for forty days. This has Old Testament references that remind us of Israel and Moses wandering for 40 years in the desert. This detail can also give us the impression that Jesus faced the devil running on empty. “He was famished.” But far from facing the greatest enemy of humanity on empty, the passage tells us that he faced him “full of the Holy Spirit.” Like David facing Goliath, Jesus fights for humanity with the armor that fits him best. We can see in this that we too are made for more than just food and water.  We are made to live in the communion of the Spirit.  In this fullness the devil is no match for the Spirit who is always reminding us that we are children of the Father.

The devil has three temptations for Jesus, each aimed at creating doubt of Jesus’ identity as “the Son of God.”  The devil wants Jesus to believe that the Father cannot be trusted and therefore Jesus needs to take matters into his own hands.  In each of these temptations we will take note of what Jesus says “no” to and what he is saying “yes” to.

First temptation: No to Self-reliance/Yes to Faith

The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” (Luke 4:3-4 NRSV)

The devil’s aim is revealed in his first words to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” He doesn’t attempt to tell a direct lie that Jesus is not the Son of God, rather he tries to plant a seed of doubt. He wants Jesus to question whether God’s words to him are true or not. We can expect such subtlety from the devil in our own temptations. Don’t expect to hear the devil tell you straight up that the Father doesn’t love you. Rather, he will wait till you are in a wilderness experience. Maybe you are lacking and feeling famished. The devil will then ask you, “If God really loves you, would he lead you to such a place as this?” The devil would love to turn your circumstances into opportunities to doubt God’s word to you. He would love to get us to focus on ourselves and our situation to the exclusion of what God is telling us. Then we are tempted to act from a center in ourselves rather than remaining centered on Jesus.

Notice how the first temptation is a very unnatural one. “Turn stone into bread.”  The devil tells Jesus to take care of his own needs using supernatural power. Instead of relying on the Father for provision, Jesus is being tempted to act by using self-reliance. Jesus says no to this temptation. In Jesus “no” to self-reliance he is saying “yes” to faith.  Jesus knows what humans are created for. We were created to rely on and trust in the Father. Jesus does not succumb to the temptation to take matters into his own hands and to feed himself on his terms. That would be unnatural as we are created to receive all things from the Father on his terms and in his good time. Jesus trusts the Father will provide, and he waits for the Father’s timing.

Jesus’ answer to the devil reveals he sees beyond the immediate temptation. “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’” He acknowledges his need for bread but not at the expense of a much deeper need and sustenance — his need to rely on the Father.  Also, notice how Jesus resist these temptations.  The devil is trying to get Jesus to doubt the Father’s word to him, so, what does Jesus do?  He reminds himself by telling the devil what God’s word says.  In our temptations, we too must remain firmly rooted in God’s written word which reminds us of what the Father has spoken to us in the Living Word by the Spirit.  Scripture is an essential gift the believer must receive daily.  It’s often recommended to start the day with a devotional, or in the Psalms.  The best start of the day is to turn your ears to the trustworthy word found in the scriptures.  You will find Jesus there with his victory for you.

Second temptation: No to Self-glory/Yes to Hope

Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” (Luke 4:5-8 NRSV)

The second temptation is for Jesus to seek his own glory by worshiping the devil. Jesus is being tempted again to trust in some other means rather than trusting the Father. This particular temptation for glory is a glory of the world and its ways. The devil is tempting Jesus to rely on the “glory” and “authority” of the “kingdoms of the world.” From the vantage point that Jesus could view all the kingdoms of the world, he would have most prominently been seeing the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire can serve as a pretty good depiction of the type of glory the devil was tempting Jesus with. It is a self-proclaimed and self-actualized glory. And it doesn’t matter who you must step on to get it. But this is not the glory of the Father. Satan is trying to tempt Jesus to gain his own glory in the same way the world operates. Cunning, manipulation, lies, and even murder pave the path to glory for those who worship the devil and his ways.

Jesus says “no” to this temptation because he is saying “yes” to hope in his Father’s glory. He knows the only one truly worthy of worship, and he knows his Father’s glory outshines anything this world can produce. He also knows the fullness of the Father’s glory is yet to come. Out of trust in his Father, he does not attempt a power grab for the moment; he can wait in hope, knowing the Father will glorify him at the right time and in the right way. This will be an actual share in the Father’s own glory. No counterfeits! Also, this will be a glory that will never fade and a glory that needs not trample others underfoot. The glory the devil tempts Jesus with is a paltry and dim glory compared to the splendor of the Father.

Anytime the devil is tempting us to grab something for ourselves on our terms and on our timetable, we can be assured that what he is offering is a far cry from what the Father freely gives. The devil’s temptations are never for something better than what God is giving. It will always be a temptation to settle, to choose the less over the best. The devil has nothing to offer but a glory that fades like the grass. We too, can expect the devil to present us with such self-glorifying temptations.  Instead of living in hope of the Father’s purposes for us, we may be tempted to glorify ourselves in such a way that does not glorify the Father.  This is a glory destined to fade.

Jesus shows us that the glory we are created for is not one we claim for ourselves.  True glory is found in worshiping and serving only “the Lord your God.”  So, we live in hope of the sure promises of a glorious Father.  Even if saying “no” to the present temptation doesn’t look so glorious in the eyes of an onlooking world, it will be, in the end, the only glory worth having.  And we are assured that hope does not disappoint.

Third temptation: No to Self-preservation/Yes to Love

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Luke 4:9-12 NRSV)

For the third temptation the devil decides to try his hand at using scripture. He sees that Jesus has countered the first two temptations with scripture so perhaps he thinks, he can use his best defense against him. So, the devil takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and dares him to jump off. Quoting Psalm 91:11-12 out of context, he is telling Jesus that he can display his identity by having angels show up to protect him. In essence, he is tempting Jesus to avoid the cross. Instead of going to the cross, Jesus is being tempted to avoid suffering and establish himself in the same way the worldly powers do.  Worse, the devil wants Jesus to use God as a means to his own ends.  The devil is telling Jesus that he can use God as a tool to gain his own success and acceptance in the world.

This temptation begins like the first one by saying, “If you are the Son of God…”  The devil will concede Jesus’ identity as the Son of God if Jesus uses that relationship for his own purposes. The devil’s proposition is for Jesus to use his sonship with the Father to produce a spectacular display of power and invincibility.  The devil is claiming that the world will flock to Jesus if he plays by their rules, and also, he will not need to go through the suffering that will be involved in following God’s will. Luke’s use of the Temple to set the scene of this temptation is a sure reference to the final assault of the devil in Jerusalem that will lead to Jesus’ crucifixion and death on the cross.

Jesus not only knows his identity as the Son of God, but he also knows the love of his FatherIf the Father’s will involves suffering, it is not due to a lack of God’s loveJesus and the believers, who were the first recipients of Luke’s Gospel, know that God’s love may entail a divine rescue that comes through suffering and death and not always before or from it.  So, Jesus is not tempted by self-preservation.  Even his own health and life, he willingly places in the Father’s hands, knowing the Father’s love will prevail even if suffering is involved.  In this way, Jesus’ “no” to the temptation of self-preservation is his “yes” to God’s love.

Both the devil and Jesus are using scripture throughout this battle. Although both know the scriptures it is only Jesus who knows the heart and character of the Author.  Jesus knows he is the beloved son of the Father. He shuts down the devil by quoting “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  If we try to test God’s love, we make ourselves out to be the standard by which the Father is measured.  We cannot take our “standards” of love and put the Father to a test to see if he measures up. It is the Father who is love.  Just as Jesus went to the cross, trusting the Father, we come to know what love really is as we go through trials and temptations and trust him.  As Jesus says “no” to the devil and “yes” to the Father, he becomes our “no” to temptation and our “yes” to faith, hope, and love.

The temptations from the devil conclude in defeat.

When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:13 NRSV)

The devil’s departure is a depiction of his defeat. His return “until an opportune time” is a reference to the final battle that will resume at the cross. This story is but the beginning of the devil’s defeat that will be fully accomplished in Jesus’ crucifixion and death. Let’s conclude where the devil left off. Since the devil cited verses 11-12 of Psalm 91, let’s look at those verses and pay attention to see what he did not quote — the very next verse.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:11-13 NRSV)

You see this? God’s word always gets the last word. You can see why the devil wouldn’t want to include the part of Psalm 91 that spoke of his own demise. But Jesus knew his scriptures, and he knew his Father. As we face the temptations the devil throws our way, may we too, hold to God’s word to us in the written and Living Word and receive Jesus’ “no” to the devil so we can receive his “yes” to the Father’s gift of Faith, Hope, and Love.


Genesis 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Luke 4:1-4, 5-8, 9-13   And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.   And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.   And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.   

And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.   And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.   If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.   And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.   

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:   10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:   11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.   12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.   

13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.  

1 John 2:15-17   15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.   16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.   17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.






Three Questions We Must Answer

As we focus on the Love Avenue and our theme, Compelled by Love, there are three questions each one of us needs to address.

There is a lot of enthusiasm in GCI as we focus on the Love Avenue and reaching out to our neighbors and friends, but there are also a lot of questions. How do we do this? Why are we doing this? Is this really our calling? What can my little group do? What does this mean for me and my personal life? I submit these questions are mostly addressed when we answer the three main questions for every Christian. Who is Jesus? Who am I in relation to Jesus? Who are others in relation to Jesus? The answer to these questions gives us the Why of the Love Avenue and our participation with Jesus.


Who is Jesus? 

It seems such a simple question with an obvious answer. He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the one to whom has been given all power and authority on heaven and on earth. He is the one who promises to be with us always, even to the ends of the age. But what does this mean? What does knowing who Jesus is have to do with the Love Avenue? And where do you start? Depending on how you count them, you can come up with more than 135 names and titles of Jesus – each one of them important. Your priority list may differ from mine but let me share the titles that help me focus on the Love Avenue and my part in it.

  • The Savior: Jesus is the savior of the world. I used to believe that Jesus came to just save a few. But that’s not what Scripture tells us. The Bible tells us Jesus is the savior of the world (John 4:42John 3:16-171 John 4:14Luke 19:10Luke 2:111 Timothy 4:10) who came for all. For years I struggled with the concept that God came for all until I was asked by a good friend and mentor, “Who specifically did he NOT come to save?” That question stopped me in my tracks. Is there someone, or a group of people I believe Jesus did not come to save? Perhaps it’s people who believe differently than me, or who look differently than me, or who have a different lifestyle than me, or who are deceived differently than me. Jesus is the one and only Savior for all who needed to be saved—and that includes everyone.
  • The One who forgives: Jesus is the one atonement for all sin. When Jesus was on the cross and said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” who was he referring to? Who was the “they” he prayed for? The Roman soldiers? Caesar? Pilate? The Sadducees and Pharisees? The crowd calling out against him? The disciples? His family? The rest of the crowd? Yes! Yes to all. Again, a long time ago I was asked the question, “When Jesus said Father forgive them, who did he exclude?” Jesus never said, “Father forgive all but….” Paul reminds us that ALL have sinned, and the same ALL have been forgiven. Some believe and live in that forgiveness; some don’t believe and still live in the misery of their guilt and shame.

The Bible tells us Jesus became our sin. He became the propitiation—the appeasement or satisfaction—of our sins by his blood (Romans 3:24-25). This is the heart of the gospel message; our sins have been removed because we have been forgiven. We are no longer dead in our sin because we’ve been made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2). Jesus is our redeemer – the one who pays the ransom for us (John 1:29Galatians 4:5Ephesians 1:71 Peter 1:18-191 John 2:2). He paid the penalty for our sins, and because of that we walk forgiven – in the freedom of his mercy and grace.

  • The Reconciler: Sin made humanity feel guilty and it was easy to fall for the lie that God was mad at us, turned his back on us and would not – indeed could not – be in the presence of evil. I heard this lie preached for years. One variation might be, since we have all sinned and fallen short God cannot love us. Another states that because of sin and the fall of humanity, God had to turn away and we were all subject to his wrath. Books have been written about God’s wrath and God’s anger, and how sinners would be dealt with in the hands of an angry God. False teachings about ever-burning infernos in different levels of hell and eternal torment have scared millions into believing God is enraged and looking for ways to dispense his wrath. The idea that a holy God cannot be in the presence of sin and evil have made many give up, believing God has already rejected them or that their sin is too much for God to forgive.

Jesus came to reconcile us to God by revealing his true nature. God has often dwelled in the presence of evil. The Bible tells that Lucifer and a host of angels rebelled among the heavenly hosts. Since God is not in a given place, and there is no place he is not, this rebellion was in his presence. He dwelt in the midst of the camp of Israel – among sinners. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, came to live among sinners. The Holy Spirit lives in you as he turns your heart to repentance to see God as Father, Jesus as Lord, and the Holy Spirit as teacher and comforter.

God hates evil because of what it does to us, but he does not hate those who have been deceived by evil. He is not afraid of it, doesn’t have to run from it, and certainly does not lash out at his beloved because of their sin. He is our Father, our Abba (loosely translated as Papa). He loves us enough to send his Son to us so we can be redeemed, so we can see our value, so we can be forgiven and experience his love. Jesus came so we could be reconciled to God – so we could see we are adopted, cared for, loved and included in the communion shared by Father, Son and Spirit.


Who am I in relation to Jesus?

The answer is simple and profound. I am saved. I am forgiven. I am reconciled. I am a unique expression of God’s love. I am known by God. I am rescued. I am born again. I am adopted. I am a reflection of Jesus. I am called a masterpiece. I am bought with a price. I am free. I am blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly realms. I am a co-heir with Christ. I am a beloved child of the Father. I am the brother of Jesus. I am accepted. I am the friend of Jesus. I am the image of God. I am holy and blameless in him. I am chosen. I am redeemed. I’ve been justified. I’ve been sanctified. I am a citizen of heaven. I am a child of the promise. I am a new creation. I am loved.

As a result, I live and walk in a freedom not known by too many. I walk in confidence, knowing my future is sure. I have been invited to participate with him in seeking and saving the lost. I’ve been invited to join him in fulfilling the Great Commission – realizing I am working alongside the one who has been given all power and authority on heaven and earth, and that he will be with me always. Because I know his work is good and will be fulfilled, and because I know I am a citizen of his kingdom, I have permission to not get as caught up in the evils in this world because I know there is only one solution, and he is already in charge. I can’t fix the political mess; I can’t fix social injustice; I can’t fix or stop hate; but I know the one who can. I will follow him as he leads me. I will love because he loves.


Who are others in relation to Jesus?

Again the answer is simple and profound. They are saved, they are forgiven, they are reconciled. The sad truth is many don’t know this yet. They live in darkness because they haven’t been brought into the light. Jesus invites us to bring them into the light. He invites us to reveal the truth of who they are and help them leave shame and guilt behind. He invites us to help them understand they are loved, they are worthy, they are valued. He invites us to stand beside those who are hurting and give them comfort. He invites us to stand up for those who are mistreated because they need to know they are valued. He invites us to see others as he sees them, to see his love and compassion for them and then act accordingly. Because we know Jesus, we want others to know him as well. We want them to live in the truth of who they were created to be. We are compelled by love to love others. This is the foundation of the Love Avenue.


Jesus, help me share your love,

Rick Shallenberger




Food For Thought

Re: The Gospel

  • What is the Gospel?
  • Is the Gospel about something that you can do?
  • Is the Gospel good news for some … or for all?

Re: Salvation

  • What is salvation?
  • Why is salvation?
  • When was salvation?
  • How is salvation?

Re: Hell

  • What is Hell?
  • When was Hell?
  • Where did Hell come from?
  • Where is Hell?
  • Why is Hell?
  • How does Hell glorify God?
  • Is Christ in Hell?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top