There is a difference between temptation and testing. Temptation harms our faith and our character. Testing matures our faith and our character. Temptation is dangerous and the harm can be devastating if we fall into the temptation.
Luke is clear in vs. 2, “for forty days he was tempted by the devil…” For forty days Jesus is in a battle with the evil one who seeks to destroy and to devour. The attack was continuous and real. At the end of the 40 days when Jesus is exhausted and hungry, we are given the climax of three major temptations.
When we read the story I think we see Jesus like Gandalf the Wizard in Lord of the Rings. A man in white speaking from power with his staff held high, “you will not pass.” I think that picture of Jesus is misleading. He was tired and beaten down. He did speak with authority even in his weakness.
And that authority has been given to us. It is the Word of God. For each temptation Jesus responds quoting Scripture. Scripture that we know and learn. The Word does speak with authority and the evil one is destroyed. Even in fatigue and 40 days of hunger when Jesus uses the Word all is changed. We’re told in vs. 13, “when the devil finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” The temptation wasn’t complete. Just as we are harassed by temptation, Jesus endured the very same thing.
For your Lenten reflection, how often do you read the word? Do you memorize Scripture? How do you use Scripture with authority?
Dear God, Give me strength to fight off temptation. When I struggle with my faithful walk surround me with believers who speak your Word strongly into my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen