Reflections of Our Savior
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: `Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” [Matthew 4:1-4NIV84]
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Dear members and friends of Our Savior:
Consider these words of Martin Luther, quoted from a sermon in 1523, for the First Sunday of Lent:
“When the devil tempts me, my heart is comforted and my faith is strengthened, because I know Him who for my sake has overcome the devil, and that He comes to be my help and my comfort. Thus faith overcomes the devil. Therefore, first, God teaches me faith, that I may know that for my sake Christ has overcome the devil. Then, since I now know that the devil has no power over me but is overcome by faith, I must be ready to be tempted. The purpose of this is that my faith be strengthened, and that my neighbor may be given an example by my victory over temptation, and may be comforted.
And mark this: whenever faith begins, temptation soon follows. The Holy Spirit does not leave you to rest in quietness, but soon He throws you into temptation. Why? In order that your faith may be confirmed, for otherwise the devil would blow us about like chaff. But if God comes and hangs a weight of temptation on us, then it is made known to the devil and all mankind that the power of God is at work [when we, by faith, overcome the devil and his temptations]. Thus God reveals His glory and majesty in our weakness.”
We are constantly bombarded by temptation. Should we care? Yes, of course! But should we despair? By no means! Being tempted does not mean that God has abandoned us, but that He loves us and He allows the temptation for our good. He seeks to strengthen us by His Word of deliverance---that Christ has overcome the devil for us. Through faith in Christ, our Savior, we too, have overcome the devil.
During the season of Lent, we stand as eye witnesses of everything that Jesus endured for our forgiveness and salvation. And it isn’t just Good Friday, with the beatings, the nails, the death and burial that Jesus endured. It is everything that Jesus did, and didn’t do, as He willingly went His cross for us. Yes, He was even tempted for us, and as our perfect substitute was without sin. Jesus did not fail; He did not fall.
May we find strength and comfort in Jesus’ temptations, and in our own trusting in Jesus’ victory, that God is strengthening our faith and resolve in every time of need. AMEN.