September 26, 2008 - Friday of the 18th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Malachi 2:1—3:5; Matthew 4:1-11

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Jesus was tempted in every way as we are. Immediately after His Baptism, His “Red Sea,” Jesus, as Israel reduced to one Man, is driven by the Spirit into the wilderness for His forty days. He goes without food or drink; He is weakened beyond measure, and in His weakness, the devil pounces.

“If you are the Son of God….” The temptations are diabolical, pushing hard. Turn these stone to bread. We will do anything for bread, to fill our bellies, to quench our hunger. We will sell our freedoms and offer up our children. But Jesus will not. “Man does not live by bread alone.”

He is tempted to test the Word of God, to see if the angels will cushion His fall as He jumps from the temple. We, too, test the Word. Will it work for us? Is God true to His promises? Again, Jesus refuses. “You will not test the Lord, your God.”

Jesus is tempted by power and glory, fame and celebrity. “All these are yours if you bow down and worship me.” We bend the knee for far less; turn our backs God’s service for a considerably smaller sum than the glories of the kingdom of this world. Again, Jesus declines. “You shall worship the Lord, your God, and Him only shall you serve.”

He was tempted in every way as we are - in appetite, in trust of God’s Word, in power and glory - and did not sin. He resisted for us, and in Him we resist, standing firm in the faith. “I will make enmity between you and woman,” God said to the serpent. Here the lines are drawn. The Son of God meets the Deceiver on his own turf. Where we fail continually, He conquers for us, and in Him we more than conquer. Alone, we are no match for the old evil Foe. But in Jesus Christ, baptized into Him and believing in Him, one little word can fell him.

Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by your Holy Spirit that in our daily need, and especially in all time of temptation, we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.