We have read of Jesus' trials during His forty-day fast and His beatings and nailings to the Cross. But what about the rest of His life?
During Jesus' forty-day fast, before the commencement of His ministry, Satan persecuted Him constantly. Besides using those three harrowing temptations we all know well—the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life (Luke 4:1-13), Jesus was thrown every other temptation Satan could invent. His loathing of Jesus was obvious.
Did Jesus' temptations to sin stop between the fast and the Cross? Luke 4:13 implies the temptations went on. "And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season." As Satan was so committed to Jesus' downfall, I don't think that season was very long. Satan would wait until he thought Jesus could be tempted with something else.
Satan threw down the gauntlet for Jesus to breach a rule, any rule, anything to get Him off-track. Jesus' ministry consisted of three and a half years of situations ripe for temptation. Similar to many fallen preachers of whom we have heard, Jesus was tempted to breach the protocols of obedience, the rules of conduct of Christian living. If God could find no fault in Him, Jesus' ministry would lead into both roles of spiritual High Priest and perfect sacrifice upon His death. Satan knew he had limited time to get Jesus to sin, to ensure a blemish. If Satan could get God to reject Jesus' sacrifice for the reason of imperfection, Jesus could never become our perfect High Priest forever (Hebrews 7:17). For instance, a stage was set for the temptation of pride when Jesus was feeding the five thousand listeners with a few fish, or healing people. However, pride didn't enter his thoughts. What an opportunity for anger when the priests brought the adulteress before Him! How about the convenience for hidden lust with all those females adoring Him as He spoke, healed, taught, and smiled His way through His ministry? He wasn't good looking, but most females can see deeper than looks. What about the temptation to slay His persecutors as He went through His trial? How would you have gone getting punched and slapped about? Of course, we can't forget about that powerful temptation to water down His Word, so He didn't offend people? The type of thing we might do. Every day would have been one of temptation like our days, but multiplied to high-pressure. At those times when we might fall then repent, He made sure He didn't fall. Too much was at stake. For instance, His ministry on earth, possibly His future in the Trinity, His resurrection and second coming, and therefore our means of salvation. Jesus was on trial all his life. When you think about it, He couldn't choose sin followed by repentance as some of us do. It didn't fit the scenario. As in 1 Samuel 15:22, Jesus chose obedience. Jesus' life was on trial before God in the courtroom of Heaven, similar to Job's trial. (Job 1). Except Job's was for a time. Jesus' was a lifetime. our lives are also on trial in Heaven. Yet we have Jesus to plead our case. Who did He have? Notwithstanding the fierceness of the temptations through the fast and the Cross, we can thank Jesus more and more for simply standing strong through those daily trials of life, without fault, to become who He is, our Saviour. We can better prepare for our daily trials. We can stay close to our father in heaven, we can pray and praise more, be more thankful, think of others to a greater degree, and commit to obedience through love for Saviour. And we can make a decision to commit ourselves to obedience.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for showing me the strength Jesus had and used to overcome the temptations to sin, to yell, to hate, to keep wrong feelings hidden. Please help to rule my passions as He did. Help me to allow more of your precious Holy Spirit in to have victory over my trials of life.
Photo by Bill Oxford