The First 15

Friday March 31, 2023

by Thomas Mitchell


Scripture Reading

Luke 4:1-12
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.

And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’”

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

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


Jesus, recalling Israel’s testing of God at Massah and Meribah, will not conspire with the devil to put the Lord God to the test. In other words, Jesus will not test God’s patience, God’s promise, or God’s love.

He will do the will of the Father without question. He will not ask the Father to perform a miracle that is based on Jesus’s will rather than the will of the Father. He will not manipulate God. He will not grumble or quarrel or complain about God’s timing, actions, or plans.

Jesus will not put the Lord his God to the test.

I am glad that God is full of grace toward me and toward you. He lives up to his words on love, spoken through Paul: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor. 13:4–7).

Even in the face of such faithfulness and love, I still put God to the test. I am stiff-necked in my worst moments, untrusting, and a worrier. Still, the Father hangs in there with me.

Jesus is doing what Israel could not do, in order to work in you and me what only Jesus could do—obey the Father in fullness and completeness. Jesus, representing the nation of Israel as the Second Adam, and the bearer of the new covenant, will obey. The breach will be fixed, the gap will be closed.

You and I can live in such a way that we do not test God—rather, we bless him.

In what ways have you recently experienced God being gracious with you—not withholding his love even though you were pushing the boundaries of his patience and promise?

Closing Prayer

Lord of the Wild, we know what it is to test You. We sense impatience and fear, even now, rising in our hearts due to circumstances out of our control. Teach us to trust you through the storms, to remain a believer in the rough times as well as the smooth. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Songs for the Wilderness

Today we will sing two versions of the hymn “Trust and Obey.” You can find the traditional hymn here, and a contemporary version here. Subscribe to our Spotify playlist featuring all of our Songs for the Wilderness here.

First 15 through the season of Lent is adapted from Jesus in the Wild: Lessons of Calling for Life in the World available through Seedbed. If you or your small group are interested in using this resource for your Lenten study, you can find more information here or send an email to

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