from our Ministers Joseph & Peter

 Temptation of Jesus- Luke 4:1-13 “Father, I place into your hands, The things I cannot do, Father, I place into your hands, The things that I've been through. Father, I place into your hands, The way that I should go, For I know I always can trust you.” Amen Let us offer our lives once again to God as we sing Jesus, all for Jesus…! The word temptation very often comes across as a negative expression, a scary feeling and difficult to work out its origin. The combination of emotions, feelings and actions bring consequences to oneself as well as to others. In biblical terms, the Hebrew word “nasah” and the Greek word “peirazō” both express an overall meaning that enables them to be translated in terms of “temptation” or “testing” depending on the context. For example, it may mean an attraction to do something that is evil or wrong and in a different context it may mean an action with consequences which usually shows the nature and intentions of the person. It also establishes seriousness at some point but also clearly challenges people’s integrity to accept their absolute commitment to God in all circumstances. From the day God that made Adam and Eve, he knew that they were prone to wander away from him and he placed them in a situation where they could choose. We read how Adam and Eve then encountered temptation but unfortunately failed and it saddened God’s heart. Temptation is a universal phenomenon; everyone has faced it, irrespective of who they are, where they are and how they are. For example, we have several instances in the Bible that reflect how people wrestled with it: (Genesis 39; 2 Samuel 24; 1 Chronicles 21, 2 Chronicles 32:3; Psalm 66:10; Daniel 6; 12: 10; Zechariah 13:9; Luke 22: 31; Luke 22:40; Luke 20:47-48; Luke 22:57-62; Acts 5:1-11; Hebrews 11;17; James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12 ) Whether we like it or not, as far as this part of eternity is concerned we are vulnerable and we shall encounter temptation in different forms. However, we are not only warned to be alert but also are encouraged to watch and pray; We must trust and obey, walk in the light, merge ourselves in the word of God and be conscious of his living presence all the time. It is encouraging to know how some have overcome temptations and others have become victims to them. What comforts us is that temptation is universal, we all encounter it and we cannot escape from it unless we are rooted in the word of God. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is how we are safe in the shadow of his protective wings, to sing nearer my God to thee, The voice from heaven at Jesus’ baptism declared publicly his true identity: the Son of God, whom God loved and with whom God was well pleased. (Luke 3:22). For Jesus, such an affirmation was uplifting and inspiring, given that people thought he was merely a son of Joseph, the carpenter and Mary, the woman who had borne him out of wedlock. This affirmation would be challenged in his subsequent temptations. Even Jesus, affirmed to be the Son of God at his baptism, and filled with the Holy Spirit, was not spared by Satan. After fasting forty days and nights in the wilderness, Jesus was hungry which shows that he was truly human. He wrestled with the power of Satan, who tried to appeal to Jesus’ humanity with things that were more attractive to his earthly sight, mind and will. In great physical need Jesus was tempted to prove his identity as the Son of God by using his power to convert the desert stones into bread which would satisfy his physical hunger, but he refused to do so. He affirmed that it is not just bread that keeps man alive, but every word of God. He was tempted to acknowledge his human position to gain all “authority and splendour” if only he will worship the devil, but as a true human Rev Dr. Joseph Suray Temptation of Jesus-Lent 1 2 he also declared through God’s word that the purpose of humanity is to “worship the Lord God and serve Him alone.” Thanks be to God, the one who empowered Jesus to overpower the temptations in the desert in order to become the victor and set an example for us to follow. Jesus was also tempted to prove his faith in God to protect him. As a human, he was led to the highest point of the temple, and challenged to prove his identity as God’s son, by jumping down from the temple to see whether he would be saved. As a true son of Joseph and Mary, and as a true Son of God, he rebukes Satan, saying humanity is instructed not to put the Lord God to the test. The true identity of Jesus as both human, and Son of God in relationship with his Father was at stake. The secret of his success in fighting the temptations was the word of God that was used as a weapon to attack the tempter. He knew that as a human, he was meant to be tempted, and he also knew that there is God’s way of escaping from it in order not to be victim. Jesus faced these temptations but did not sin by giving in to them and so became our truest example to follow. He knows our weaknesses, trials and temptations, and therefore becomes our true friend who understands who we are and what we go through in our daily lives. It is encouraging to see what the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews says about Jesus, giving us absolute assurance that we are not alone but the Lord Jesus is with us, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14-16) Time for personal reflection: What temptations and trials have you encountered so far? How did you respond to them? What impact has your response made on your own personal relationship with God and others? In the light of Jesus’s temptations, will you respond differently today? As we live in this world of temptations, sometime we wonder how can we keep ourselves safe and continue to be what God wants us to be. When we face life and death, no matter how strong, wealthy or wise we are, we will not be safe until we recognise our helplessness and cry with humility by taking refuge in Christ. God invites us to offer our lives to him afresh, to be nearer to the cross where his son Jesus has died. Let us continue to pray and ask Jesus to keep us near the cross always, ( Personal Prayer: “Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged Take it to the Lord in prayer Can we find a friend so faithful Who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness Take it to the Lord in prayer” Ame