Why do we sin? What is temptation? What is its appeal, its substance, its power? Can we resist it? Defeat it? Escape it? If “Yes,” by what power? If by our power, is God involved? If by God’s power, must we do anything ourselves? As one who has been sinning and coming short of God’s plan for human beings for nearly 69 years, and as one who has been rescued from sin’s power by a power even greater, but who has been helpless against sin apart from that greater power, I wish to devote a few gracEmails to this subject beginning with this one. Today we take a general look at the context of the temptation of Jesus during his forty days in the wilderness of Judea, described in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13.
The Gospel story begins with John baptizing Jesus, and with God visibly and audibly marking Jesus as his well-beloved son. Luke inserts a genealogy that begins with Jesus and moves backward to Adam–“Adam, the son of God.” Luke is telling us that Jesus is a second Adam, the head of a new humankind. Jesus’ bright moment at the Jordan is followed by forty days of spiritual darkness in the desert. It is a barren and rugged land, a badlands crawling with snakes and scorpions, devoid of human residents, a place where wild animals wander in search of prey. It is also a haunt of the devil.
Jesus fasts for forty days and nights and is hungry. The son of God hungry? Can hungry Jesus really be the son of God? No doubt. But doubt is a chief stock in the devil’s trade–overt at times, subtle at others. Doubt expressed with a sneer, or a look of surprise. Expressed by suggestion, question and insinuation. If you are the son of God, taunts the devil, manipulate a miracle and meet your needs! Enjoy the perks! Look the part! Wow the crowds and gain a following! But each time, Jesus refuses. God’s results do not depend on carnal shortcuts or cheap stunts. Didn’t then. Don’t now. Truth is, they never have.
Words of truth and wisdom from my friend and fellow on the journey, Edward Fudge.
From time to time I’ll share “Nuggets of Fudge” with the readers of Grace Digest. They are tasty!