Christ tempted in the wilderness

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Puritan Board Junior
Christ's Wilderness Temptation - Craig J. Scott

This is the second of five great crises that happened in the life of Christ, moments where the success of the work of redemption would be determined by what action Christ took. First was at His baptism. Christ knew what it meant to be baptized--He would assume before the world the work of Mediator, and it was the beginning of a life of inexpressible sufferings in order to receive His Kingdom. Would He shrink away, or go forward?

Second was in the wilderness. If Christ was to be the second Adam, he must succeed where Adam had failed. He must not succeed in the same environment where Adam was tempted--the Garden--but must succeed in the world as Adam had left it. In this way Christ would relieve the curse. Would Christ succeed in this crisis, or fail?

Christ would be continuously hounded with temptations from the devil throughout His forty days, with the three most significant presented at the very end (though some say that the temptations came only after the forty days). He was a man, and so was starved and thirsty. Such a man is already dreadfully prone to temptation.

Christ has recently received a public commendation from His Father. This blessing was given to confirm Him in the difficult labors of His ministry. So we ought to learn that if God sends us a wonderful blessing, He means that we make use of it in a trial to come.

Christ is also a sinless man. It is a wretched experience for us to be tempted. How much more Christ, who knows the full evil of sin, and who has a perfect hatred of sin. How much more He utterly abominated to be tempted! Not only this, but Satan knew who this was, and so put much more force in all the temptations than he does with others. Christ was tempted in degrees that we cannot imagine.

Christ is also against an enemy whose spiritual nature was more powerful than His human nature. Satan knows that this is the Son of God, that He is sinless, and so the devil would throw the full force of His power into the temptation of Christ. Yet being the God-Man and upheld by the Spirit, there was nothing in Satan's power that could overcome Christ.

Christ had a real struggle. The Lord was not a stoic when He faced enemies. He felt the solicitation. He did fight in His mind to resist it. Every power of His soul fought to resist these dreadful temptations.

This temptation He endured and resisted as our sympathetic High Priest. Christ's heart runs out to us when we are tempted, and He knows the experience. This makes Christ all the more eager to help us when we cry out to Him. He will not only send comfort, but strength.

We learn not to live as naturalists. The devil and his forces are always tempting, always seducing. They do have real power and influence in the world, and we are crippled in resisting the temptations of Satan if we live our daily lives as though the demonic realm hardly touches us or bothers with us.

And just as Christ succeeded against all the dreadful temptations of the devil in a weakened state from fasting, it is certain that we too may overcome sin.
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