Summary: Temptation of Christ in the wilderness
It Wasn’t Easy
We are into the season of Lent. It is not a coincidence, that today’s text is about the Temptation of Jesus. In the lectionary calendar, the first Sunday of Lent is always kicked of with the reading of the temptation of Jesus. It is also not a coincidence that Lent is 40 days long, and Jesus’ time in the desert was 40 days. Jesus’ temptation also refers to the 40 days that Moses spent on the mountain; Elijah’s 40 days in flight to God’s mountain, and the 40 years that the Israelites spent in the wilderness. A time when the testing in the desert for the Israelites resulted in only two of whole of those that left Egypt actually entering the Promised land. To really prepare for Easter, to really prepare for that “Hallelujah” on Easter morning, we must know what Christ did for us. We must walk these 40 days as Christ walked those 40 days, we must identify with Christ in his walk, so that when we look to the Cross during holy week we do not just see Christ upon the cross, but we see ourselves… and understand the price Jesus really paid for us.
It Wasn’t That Easy
When we watch the Olympics we see some pretty amazing things. Isn’t it amazing how we can watch some one do some amazing feat and think, “He made that look easy, I bet I can do that.” Only to find out what was easy was for one was about impossible to others to do at that level. John likes to say, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”
One of the things that I think that people feel that this was something easy for Jesus to do, after all he was God and he can do anything. And as we read it sounds as if he made it look easy, but Jesus was in a real battle here.
We forget the duel nature of Christ. He was truly god and truly man. This has been an argument that has been around since the church began. It is called Chirstology and it asks the question ‘how much of Jesus was God and how much was man?’ Some have what is called a high Christology which means that he was more God than man making him less understanding of what we are going through. Sort of breezing through life like superman. Hebrew 4: 15
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. 16 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.
Some have a low Christology that say he was more man than God. A lot of liberal theologians have this view, explaining away the miracles and touting Jesus as just a great teacher. The orthodox view is that he was exactly in the middle, a perfect balance of God and man. True God and true man.
The wilderness experience was something that was as hard for Jesus to do as it would be for you or me. Cee Cee Winan came out with a song some time ago called, “It Wasn’t Easy.” Here are some of the lyrics.
Don't think for a moment
I never felt the pain
You can't imagine
The hurt and the shame
They put the nails through my hands
Pierced my side, please understand
It wasn't easy, but it was worth it
It wasn’t easy but Jesus became came to earth and became a baby. Putting his entire well being in Mary and Joseph’s hands. When Jesus was came down here he agreed to follow our rules. He could not use anything that we could not use, that we did not have at our disposal. He could not use any of his Godly powers to shield himself from the attacks and pain of the Devil. Just as his body was susceptible to the pain of the cross, he was also susceptible to the exhaustion and hunger of 40 days in the wilderness.
Satan knew that this was his chance to get to Jesus, to God. Jesus was playing on his field now and he knew all the tricks. Satan was well acquainted with this flesh and the desires it has. He was good at knowing just what to tempt Jesus with. And Jesus was truly tempted.
We should also be aware that temptation is not itself a sin. Giving in is. So we shouldn’t be discouraged when we face temptation but be determined to continue resisting it. The reformer Martin Luther once said, ’ I can’t stop the birds flying over my head, but I can stop them from nesting in my hair.’