We Were Made for Community
Matthew 3:16–17 gives account of Jesus’ baptism and ministry launch. “As soon as Jesus (from Nazareth) was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him, I am well pleased.’” In this passage, Jesus’ father affirms three important things:
- “You are my son” settles the question of identity.
- “Whom I love” settles the question of security.
- “With you I am well pleased” settles the question of value.
It is with this acceptance by His father that Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness (Matthew 4). After 40 days and nights, He was hungry and the devil tempted Him. This attack was repeatedly directed at Jesus’ identity, “If you are the Son of God.” Not surprisingly, the devil begins His attack on identity. He then proceeds with a threefold challenge:
- The temptation of physical needs and desires (turn a stone to bread in 4:3). He sought to appeal to Jesus’ human desire for comfort.
- The temptation of popularity (cast yourself off the highest point of the temple to receive it as in Malachi 3:1). In essence, Jesus is promised to be the long-awaited Messiah in dramatic fashion with the people believing in Him.
- The temptation of power and possession (bow down and worship the devil to receive “all these things”). The devil sought to distort Jesus’ perspective by turning His focus toward worldly power, thereby aborting God’s mission of going to the cross.
Jesus answered each of the devil’s attacks by stating what scripture ultimately and authoritatively declared (4:4, 6, 10). After Jesus had victory over temptations similar to those that Adam failed at in the garden, He began His ministry (4:12–17).
There is something I want us to notice. In 4:18, Jesus calls His first disciples. Essentially, He formed a Life Group! Being God, Jesus did not need anyone, but He chose to enter into a three-year daily, intimate, life-on-life relationship with 12 men and their families. Following the temptation of the devil, He entered into community with people and imparted the message of the gospel to them so they could proclaim it to the world (Matthew 28:19–20).
Brothers and sisters, we were not meant to do life alone. We were made for community. Jesus modeled it and lived it in His earthly mission of redemption and glorifying the Father. He took those steps before He even uttered the first words of the Sermon on the Mount.
David Myles is Life Groups and Leadership Development Pastor at New Hope Church. "I love serving the Church because of the incredible love of Christ in the gospel. It’s a deep joy to see transformation in the lives of people and to help them grow in Christ."