He Was Tempted; February 14

On Sunday, we sang:

Set your troubled hearts at rest, set your troubled hearts at rest. I have stilled the wildest thunder; I will give you rest, I will give you rest.

Lay your heavy burdens down, lay your heavy burdens down. I have come to be your brother; lay your burdens down.

Trust me in your unbelief, trust me in your unbelief. I have met you in your doubting; trust me and believe.

Satan takes Jesus to the top of a mountain and shows him the kingdoms of the world. Satan says he will give Jesus all “their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please.”

Luke’s telling of the story does not continue like this, but sometimes I wonder if it could: “And Jesus spent the next three days thinking about his offer. He wondered whether it might be easier. And later on, as his crucifixion neared, he wondered how things might have played out had he simply bowed on that hill top.”

The text doesn’t say that, but it does say he was tempted. And when I tell you, “I was tempted,” it means I thought about it. To believe Jesus was fully human means he was actually tempted, which means, I believe, that he thought about it.

Like the man who sits on the edge of the hotel bed and thinks about cheating on his wife.

Like the woman who thinks about her revenge on a co-worker.

Like any person who has had to choose between an easy and a difficult path.

Bob reminded us on Sunday that the Creator God, under no obligation whatsoever, decided to endure our worst anxieties and pains. His forty days in the wilderness offer us a picture of Jesus’ vulnerability. As our advocate, he is the one who knows the seduction of bending the knee to an easier route.

He has stilled the wildest thunder but he has also sat perspiring, pondering his options, deciding between trust and doubt.

He knows what it is like to be tired, to be heavy laden, to be tempted and this is why we can trust him when he say, “trust me and believe.”