Tonight is the last in our annual Gospel Crusade. It has been a tremendous week and all who have attended have been richly blessed. Last night we heard Steve Norris (who preaches for the brethren that meet at Robinson and Center St. in Conway) powerfully present a picture of Jesus as the One who endured Temptation. Such a sermon was greatly needed, especially with a theme such as “Do What Jesus Did.”
Jesus’ enduring temptation is the core around which His Messiah-ship is based. Without His remaining pure, He could not be the perfect sacrifice needed to cleanse us of our sins. If at any time Jesus gave in to the Devil’s desires, the whole scheme of redemption would be ruined and man would be without hope.
Be thankful then, as Paul says…
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Notice that the author focuses on more than Jesus’ endurance of temptation. He focuses also on what that means for us. It means we have a Representative in Heaven Who understands what it means to be tempted. Thus, He can sympathize with us. Not only that, but because He endured temptation, He can also mediate on behalf of us, as our High Priest. With Jesus we have the best of both worlds!
And not only that, but the record of His temptation has been left for us, so that we can follow His example and endure as He did.
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
And saith unto Him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
There was no superhuman trick. Jesus didn’t use some power as God to avoid the temptation. In fact, Jesus’ power as God was one of the Devil’s weapons against Jesus in the temptation (“make the stones bread!). What Jesus did to endure temptation is what we can do as well. We can use the Word of God as our counsel, comfort and controlling force in our lives. And even when Satan tries to use the Word against us, as he did Jesus, we know to trust God’s reading of the text and not Satan’s spin on it.
Like Jesus, we can endure temptation. And if we–unlike Jesus–do stumble and fall. We can be thankful that we have Jesus, Who will restore us back to Him.
We hope you will join us tonight at 7:00pm as Charles Bane (preacher for the brethren who worship at Harding St. in Morrilton) preaching the final sermon of the week: He picked up His cross. It should be an equally powerful sermon. Don’t miss it!