February 17, 2016: Tempted
…for forty days he was tempted by the devil (v. 2).
When I reread the story of Jesus’ temptation, two things seem obviously true and a third seems inconveniently true. The first thing that is obviously true is that we have an adversary whose intentions for us are no good. When Jesus had fasted forty days and was famished, it was just then, at that precise moment, that “the devil came to him.” The devil’s timing is impeccable!
The second thing that is obviously true is that Jesus has gone before us to show us what to do when we are tempted. What a kind and gracious Savior we have! So how did Jesus respond to temptation? Not once, not twice, but three times he repelled the devil with the Word. And let me remind everyone that he wasn’t carrying a Bible with him. He repelled the evil one with the word hidden in his heart. The most basic of all spiritual disciplines is the discipline of scripture memorization.
The one inconveniently true thing is that the devil has a kind of steadfast devotion of his own. “He departed from him until an opportune time” (v. 13). This is why Peter counsels us in his first epistle, “Discipline yourselves, keep alert…your adversary the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Until our journey on earth is done, we must necessarily deal with this enemy at home, at work, and at play! Discipline yourselves; keep alert!
Prayer: Lord, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Today’s devotional was written by Tim Brown, president and Henry Bast professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visit www.woh.org.