Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil…Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”…Jesus answered him, “It is also written: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”…Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Jesus: Our true hero
For the past few weeks our focus has been on three great heroes of the faith: Moses, David, and Elijah. We saw the strength they had as God’s saints but also cringed at the weakness of their sinful flesh. Face to face with temptation, they turned from God and his Word and looked for power within themselves.
How often do we make the same mistake when temptation knocks on our door? This shouldn’t be that surprising. Our society is all about the power of “you.” If you search for ‘self-help books’ on Amazon’s website, there are over 620,000 results listed. Our selfish sinful nature tricks us into thinking we have the power to fight temptation on our own.
Today we have the opportunity to see our true hero, our perfect hero in action. An intense three round battle between Jesus and the devil took place (Spoiler alert! It isn’t even close).
Round #1: Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread; Jesus knocks down Satan with the Word.
Round #2: Satan tempts Jesus to jump off the temple and have his angels save him; Jesus knocks down Satan with the Word.
Round #3: The devil foolishly tempts Jesus to worship him; Jesus knocks down Satan with the Word.
Defeated, the devil continued to look for opportunities to tempt Jesus. While here on earth Jesus was tempted beyond what we could imagine. Hebrews 4:15 says, ”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.“ That is why Jesus is our true hero. He never failed, he never once let us down.
On the cross God took all of our sins—all of those times we have been tempted and failed—and put them on Jesus. And then in a startling act of grace he takes Jesus’ perfect life and credits it to us. Now as God’s children, through the incredible gift of faith and the word of our Savior we now have the power to stand and fight temptation. That power isn’t found in a self-help book or by digging deep inside yourself. This power is found in God’s Word. It is the answer to every temptation. Better than that it also points us to the reason we have the sure hope of heaven, our true hero, Jesus!
Jesus, Thy blood (dying) and righteousness (holy life)
My beauty are, my glorious dress.
With these before my God I’ll stand
When I shall reach the heavenly land. Amen.