Picture this scene: Jesus enters the cool waters of the Jordan River, and as He is baptized, the heavens open, the Spirit descends upon Him like a dove, and the Father declares, "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Then, WITHOUT DELAY, Jesus is sent into the heat of the desert to spend forty days "being tempted by Satan." (Mark 1:9-13) Why this sudden change? There was no time to linger at the Jordan, no time to bask in that glory, because the Father’s voice was a summons for Jesus to fulfill His mission, His mission to save you. And so He faces the Tempter at once – the one who countless times has deceived us, the one we have repeatedly followed enflamed with our sinful desires, the one who has led us in the ways of defying God more times than we can bear to think about. The outcome for Jesus? He was "tempted in every way just as we are – yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15)
Much more than to set an example of how to fight temptation, Jesus was fighting FOR YOU, in your place, overcoming temptation FOR YOU for all the times you have been overcome, obeying FOR YOU for all the times you have disobeyed. JESUS WAS PERFECTLY OBEDIENT IN YOUR PLACE. The result for you? "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." (II Corinthians 5:21) Jesus’ obedient life for you led to His obedient death for you. Everything you need for salvation – the forgiveness of all your sins and "rightness" with God – is yours through faith in Him. So for all the times you may doubt that God really loves you, for all the times you may question if God could really forgive you, for all the times you struggle with guilt, remember that Jesus prevailed in your place. He who was tempted for you and overcame also overcame death and now lives and reigns for you. You need not doubt that Jesus has saved you! May this fill you with real hope and comfort and joy and strength, now and always.
Come visit us at CHRIST OUR REDEEMER for more of this message of God's grace!
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church
Daniel is the Staff Minister at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, El Paso TX.