By Jon Mitchell
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Matthew 4:1
Believe it or not, this passage comforts me greatly. Here we have Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of God himself, being tempted by Satan! And he overcame those temptations! He did not give in and sin! Man, I can’t tell you how much that encourages me!
Why? Because I now know that Jesus understands what I am going through. The Bible says:
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery…Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb. 2:14-15, 17-18).
And again, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:15-16) Jesus was tempted just like you and me. He knows how it feels. He understands the struggle. He’s been there and done that. He overcame those temptations by knowing and obeying God’s Word (Matt. 4:1-11), and so can we. Not only that, but when we fail and penitently cry out to God for forgiveness (1 John 1:7-10; Acts 8:22), Jesus – our High Priest, our Mediator – is at the right hand of the throne of God saying, “Father, I know what Jon is going through. I’ve been there. I was tempted in the same way. He is pleading for mercy and is trying to do better. Be merciful. Be gracious.”
What comfort! What love! What hope this gives us in the struggle we face!
By Jon Mitchell