Being tested is part of the human experience.
Being lost and alone is part of the human experience.
Being tempted is part of the human experience.
Many of our life stories (greatest successes or worst failures) have these components of being lost, alone, or tempted. The endings either tell of our dramatic victory in spite of the trial, or our tragic defeat despite our best efforts.
Unfortunately, when most people think of Jesus… they think God’s Son, the Christ, Divine person. They don’t think of Jesus of Nazareth, the step-son of Joseph, carpenter. Unlike all other religions… Christians see their God, Jesus, as both fully God AND fully human. What does this mean? A lot more than we can cram into one blog entry! But, one thing it means for sure is that because Jesus was fully human (like us) it was possible for him to be lost, alone and tempted too. Part of this life story is told in Matthew’s Gospel (4:1-11):
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 1Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’” Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.
During the season of Lent… the six weeks (40 days + Sundays) leading up to Easter, we remember that Jesus, because he was human like us, COULD have failed tragically like us, but didn’t. Sure, there was God’s will and plan and divine authority and all that… but we must remember that it was Jesus’ faith in God and Jesus’ love for humanity (the faith and love that led him to death and resurrection) that made him victorious.
When we set out to ‘seek God’ by following Jesus, we are given help by God’s spirit so that by OUR faith in Jesus (and his death and resurrection) God makes us too victorious.
Join us this Sunday as Pastor Derrick reflects on the ‘Fearless’ question of the week:
“How could Jesus be fully God and fully human?”