Thursday of the First Week of Lent

Today's Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16

Daily Lectionary: Genesis 11:27-12:20; Mark 4:21-41

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who was tempted in all similarities as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4;15)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What a comfort! Do you see it? You can't miss it! Jesus is like you in every way! He's been tempted like you! He gets it! He really does! What you feel, He felt. He is not a foreigner to your loneliness. He's not a stranger to your pain. He doesn't have to read about your hurt to understand it. He's had lessons in rejection. He's been on the receiving end of abuse.

Your temptation: He's endured it all. He's felt that flash you feel to talk back to parents who weren't at all as smart as He is. He swallowed the anger that wells up when someone spoke evil of Him. He hit His hand and could have misused His Father's name. He was tempted to take a second look, to imagine something more with the beautiful women around Him. Pick the sin, the one that tempts you most, the one that buckles your knees, and He went through the temptation--without sinning.

And this isn't just some theological fact, like God is Triune and Jesus was tempted and didn't sin. Nor is it some lesson about how not to succumb to temptation as Jesus did not. It's so much more than that!

This is the very Gospel itself! Jesus was tempted in every way and for your sake, to save you, He did not sin. For you, He was tempted. For you, He didn't fall. For you, He wouldn't give a second look. For you, to save you, to rescue you from hell, He lived a perfect life under the Law.

His perfection is your perfection. His holy life is your holy life--achieved on the Cross and delivered to you in the waters of Holy Baptism. And His overcoming of temptation is your overcoming of temptation, which was made yours in the Word.

Give up fighting temptation on your own! In His Gospel, you'll find the new life to overcome your sins. In His Word, you'll die to your sinful tickles and urges. In His goodness, He leads you to repentance. In His Body and Blood, you'll be fed the strength to endure the temptations that you think can't be conquered. They can be, but not by you. Rather, they are conquered by Him in you.

When you resist, that's all Jesus. And when you don't, it's only Jesus you can crawl back to for mercy. He'll have only forgiveness for you in His gifts - for He endured all that you endured without sin for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

This reflection is available as an mp3, click here to download and listen to it.