An Accessible Journey With Jesus In The Wilderness
Episode 1 – Bread! (The first temptation of Jesus)
An accessible video and text bible study series journeying with Jesus through the three times he was tempted by the devil. Travelling together we will stop from time to time to explore key moments and understand what they are saying to us. This series will be accessible for everyone, including people of all ages with additional needs.
Find a comfortable spot to watch the video. The video for this first episode is here (it’s part three of a separate Lent series): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZjLcrVOrkg
Lord Jesus, as we think about when you were tempted in the wilderness, help us to understand all that you want to show us as we journey with you. Help us to learn from you through what you said and what you did. Help us to be like you and to share the Good News about you with people that we meet. In your own name we pray, Amen!
Jesus is tempted:
In this session we are going to learn about the first time that Jesus was tempted while he was in the desert. Jesus had just been baptised by John the Baptist, and then went out into the desert to spend time alone.
Q. Do you have a place where you like to go to be alone? Maybe a favourite park, or a spot in the garden? Or maybe you sometimes like to spend time on your own in your room?
Jesus went out into the desert, it was a wild place where there wasn’t much growing or living.
Q. Have you ever seen a desert? Maybe you’ve seen a desert on a TV programme? Or maybe you’ve been able to visit a desert? What do you think it would be like to be in the desert on your own for 40 days like Jesus?
Jesus and his temptations:
As we go through Jesus’ three temptations together in this three-part series we will journey with Jesus, looking at what he said and did that can help us to understand his three temptations better. In this session, called ‘Bread! and the next two sessions, called ‘Angels!’ and ‘Kingdom!’ (see links at the bottom of this session), we’re going to be journeying with Jesus in the desert as he spent 40 days there.
Today, we will look at something that happened to Jesus while he was in the desert. He was tempted by the devil. The part of the Bible we’re going to read is Matthew chapter 4 verses 1-4, and the version below is taken from the Accessible Edition New Testament (NIrV):
“The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. There the devil tempted him. After 40 days and 40 nights of going without eating, Jesus was hungry. The tempter came to him. He said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written, ‘Man must not live only on bread. He must also live on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Matthew Ch4 v1-4 (NIrV Accessible Edition). What Jesus said is from a verse in the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 8:3.
What does this mean:
Jesus was right at the start of his three years of ministry on Earth. He had just been baptised by John the Baptist, who had told everyone that Jesus was coming and who he was. Heaven had opened and the Holy Spirit had come down on Jesus. God had said that Jesus was his son, and that he was pleased with him. The devil wanted to stop Jesus and so as Jesus was in the desert the devil tempted him three times.
Jesus had been in the desert for 40 days and had fasted during that time. That means that he hadn’t had anything to eat. That’s a long time to go without anything to eat isn’t it?
Q. What’s the longest time you’ve gone without anything to eat? Maybe it was when you were poorly? Or maybe you forgot to eat your breakfast and so were really hungry by lunchtime?
Jesus was really hungry after not having eaten for 40 days. His tummy would have been feeling very empty and rumbly.
The devil came to Jesus and showed him some stones, like the ones in the picture at the top of this study. The devil said to Jesus that if he was hungry he could turn the stones into lovely loaves of bread to eat! It must have been very tempting for Jesus to turn the stones into bread to eat and fill his tummy.
But Jesus didn’t turn the stones into bread, instead he resisted the devil’s temptation and told the devil that we don’t just live on bread, but we live on what God says too. He got that from a verse in the Old Testament in a book called Deuteronomy.
What Jesus meant is that if we follow what God says, like Jesus did, we will be able to cope better when things are hard and can resist the devil when he tempts us to do wrong things.
Q. Are you sometimes tempted to do wrong things? Do you ask God to help you when that happens? Next time, try it!
After Jesus resisted the devil’s temptation to turn the stones into bread, the devil didn’t give up, he tried again, twice more! We’ll look at how he tried again to tempt Jesus, and how Jesus resisted these temptations, in the next two sessions in this series.
But what we learn from this part of the story is that the devil can keep tempting us to do wrong things too, and we must always be on our guard and ready to resist him. Like Jesus, we must always be ready to tell the devil that we trust in God, and in what God says in the Bible. We’ll learn more about how Jesus did that next time.
Activity: Painting stones
In the Bible story we read, the devil shows Jesus some plain stones and tempts him to turn them into bread. Jesus doesn’t give in to the devil.
For this activity, you will need some large pebbles or smooth stones; large enough to paint or draw on. You might find some if you have a garden or if not you might need to look for some in a craft shop or on the beach and do this activity when you have found some.
When you have your large pebbles or smooth stones, wash them thoroughly and dry them. Then using paints, or sharpie pens, carefully write words on them that remind you of Jesus, like the words in the picture (love, hope, joy, happy, smile, peace).
You can decorate them too if you like. When you have finished, spend a few moments looking at them and thinking about the words that you have painted or drawn, and why those words remind you of Jesus.
You can then either put the stones on a window sill or shelf so you can see them, or put them in the garden if you have one, or maybe if you go for a walk around your local area you could leave each one on the doorsteps of friends as you go, to remind them that you care about them.
“Lord Jesus, as we learn about how you were tempted by the devil, it reminds us of times when we’ve been tempted to do wrong things too. You showed us that if we trust in God and in his word, the Bible, and ask for his help, we can resist temptation too.
As we look at the stones that we’ve painted or drawn on, and the words that remind us of you that we’ve written, help us to follow your example and live life like you did. A life of love, peace, hope and joy. And help us to share this with other people too, bringing happiness and a smile to everyone.
In your name, Amen!”
See you next time, when we’ll be looking at another way that Jesus overcame the devil’s temptations. The next session is called ‘Angels!’
Arranged by Mark Arnold, Additional Needs Ministry Director at Urban Saints. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All text © Mark Arnold / The Additional Needs Blogfather. Images © unknown.
With Jesus In The Wilderness: Episode 2 – Angels!
With Jesus In The Wilderness: Episode 3 – Kingdom!
Accessible Jesus: Modelling Inclusion
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