Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Today, I want to focus on two things. The first is what Jesus faced. The second is what we face. I want to do this because it is critical to know that Jesus faced the same "crap" that we do.
He was Led by the Spirit:
I find this phrase critical because it shows that Jesus' temptations were not just random events where Satan just happened to come up on Jesus. This was a deliberate act of God to put Jesus in harms way. God wanted Jesus to face the garbage that Satan throws at us on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Jesus was thrust into an environment that is not any different from ours.
Why is This Important?
It's simple really. The Father wanted Jesus to experience the same garbage from Satan that we do. Was it for empathy? No. It was for the experience of it. Jesus needed to face the same trials and temptations that we do. The big difference is,
JESUS DID NOT SUCCUMB.
Jesus is the perfect obedience to God's Will. He is not to be an example for us. Jesus is the fulfillment of God's Will because God knows that we will never be able to fulfill God's will. We are free from the stress and strain to "be perfect." Jesus is perfect so that we don't have to be. All we need do is trust Jesus. The rest is easy.
Into the Wilderness:
At the southern end of Israel is an area called, The Negev. It is rocky, arid, and nasty. It is the area where God sent Jesus. It is the area where there is no store for food and barely any water. A person could starve to death in that area. And Jesus was in that area for forty days and forty nights.
All manner of things could have happened to Jesus while He was in the wilderness. I am sure that He lost a lot of weight. The point is, Jesus could have died out there.
We Live in the Wilderness:
But He didn't. As as we wander the wilderness of life, we can starve as well. And I'm not talking about food. I am talking about starvation from the Word of God. The wilderness for us takes on many shapes. For example, the wilderness of work. There is the wilderness of possessions and money, the wilderness of career and work just to name a couple. And Jesus is in our wilderness in order to bring us back to the presence of the Father.
To Be Tempted:
The devil, Satan, "The adversary" was waiting for Jesus to tempt Him at just the right time, from Satan's point of view. Jesus was wandering for forty days and forty nights. Satan thought Jesus was vulnerable. Yet Jesus' rebuffs of Satan's temptations were always founded on the Word of God. Even when Satan used God's Word in order to trip Jesus up. And it didn't work.
Hunger, Power, and Greed:
And the temptations that we face, and will face, are about hunger, power, and greed. All of mankind's sins are founded in those three areas. We hunger for all kinds of possessions, not just food. We think that we are in control, that we have the power to conquer all kinds of problems. And we're greedy for more than just money.
And there is one thing more powerful, satisfying, and humbling. That is the WORD OF GOD. The Word of God is written for our learning, growing, correcting, and rebuking. The Word of God points us to the futility of "chasing after the wind" of modern life. It also points us the Word God who became flesh and made His dwelling among us.
We have a strong, clean, and powerful life to live humbly for our God because of what Jesus did for us. And the fact that He faced them for us is incredible and full of love.
What are we going to do about it?
Let's talk about the options.
Eyes on Jesus:
You have heard the phrase, “Eyes on the prize.” In other words, keep looking forward, keep focused on the goal. Don’t take your eyes off of the one thing that you need to accomplish.
What better “prize” to keep focused on is Jesus. He is author and perfecter of our faith. He is our salvation and life. Jesus gives life to you and I through His death and resurrection. So yes, I will keep my “eyes on the prize.”
During this season of Lent
We will have our “Eyes on Jesus.” The message themes will be seeing Jesus from different perspectives. It starts on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020 with, “Misjudging Eyes.” So each service, on both Sunday and Midweek, will focus on a different set of eyes as they “see” Jesus.
So, let me ask you a question.
From what perspective, or set of eyes, do you see Jesus? In what ways do you see Jesus? Do you see Jesus as a historical person who lived and died? Do you see Jesus as a good teacher of morals and values? Or do you see Jesus as a man who was on the wrong side of the power equation?
If you see Jesus from one of those perspectives, then you’re not seeing Jesus fully. You’re only seeing Jesus from a narrow perspective.
Yes Jesus, is a historical person
Who lived and died. AND Jesus is a person who physically rose to life. View Jesus as more than a human being. See Jesus as God and man together. See Jesus in His fullness of human AND divine. See Jesus as the ONE and ONLY person to fulfill the law of God perfectly because He is God. Jesus is also the sacrifice of God in order to save us from our sins. AND JESUS ROSE to bestow to us a brand new life now as well as forever.
It is true that Jesus taught “morals and values.”
The “morals” that Jesus taught are the Ten Commandments. We are to live by them and with them. They are our center and focus. They are standards by which we live. Can we obey them all the time? Absolutely not. It is impossible. That is why Jesus gave to us His “values.” We are valued. We are loved. We are rebuked. We are corrected. AND WE ARE SAVED from ourselves. We are so valued that God did not want to leave us in our sins. We are valued so much that Jesus, God’s Son, came to earth to be our Savior by taking away our sins and making us new people. And by Jesus’ resurrection we have a new life right now, freed from sin, as well as forever.
It is true that Jesus ended up on the wrong side of the power equation.
That’s because the “powers that be” were wrong and Jesus was right. Jesus did end up on the bad side of the Jewish leadership and the Roman leadership. Again, that’s only half the story. Jesus brought clarity to God’s will that the leadership had either forgotten or ignored. And that was God’s intent. God, through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension brought the truth of life to the “powers that be” and to all people.
So, how’s your eyesight now?
Are you seeing Jesus more fully? Good. Come and see, set your eyes on Jesus. Join us for worship on Sundays and Wednesdays.
1st Corinthians 3:8-9:
He who plant and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.
The Building Goes Up:
If you were watching the images of our new building construction, you witnessed the construction of a building that has four classrooms for three year old and four year old students of our school, a fellowship hall, and a youth room as the major rooms to be used. If you are watching, you are seeing ministry happen at many levels with many people. It is a great joy to see God at work amongst so many.
At the same time, Paul is NOT referring to construction of a building. Paul is referring to the construction of believers. Paul is referring to people being built up and raised up into disciples. The building that is being built is of flesh and bone. It is you and me, who are believers in God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Construction Workers:
So who are the workers? In the case of the Corinthian church at the time of Paul, the workers were Paul, Apollos, Pricilla and Aquila. They were people who God sent to bring salvation to the Church at different times.
In our time, the workers are those who God saved. The workers are those who see God's plan and who use their gifts, talents and skills, time, and treasure to build the "house of God."
The House of God:
And you are the house of God. You are the one for whom Christ died in order to rebuild the foundation of your life. You, along with all other believers, are being constructed into a living and breathing house of salvation.
The house has been perfected. Jesus did that for you. Jesus has given to you His life. So who is the builder? Who is the one from whom the plans of salvation came? Who is the one who inspired the workers to serve and build?
It is God of course. God designed the "plan of salvation" that is for all people. The plan is simple.
1. You and I are sinners. Sin has ruined God's wonderful creation. We are like a wall that was built on a foundation that is cracked and not level. Our base is off which makes the whole building off.
2. We cannot make ourselves right. We cannot by means of our "good deeds" make ourselves into a building that is not flawed.
3. We need God to "rebuild" us. It takes the Builder to send His Son into our lives to rebuild us into a house that is new. Jesus Christ, God's Son, gave up His body and shed His blood as the one time sacrifice of grace and love. God forgave our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Jesus destroyed the foundation of sin and rebuilt the foundation. From there God through His workers will build you into a new house that is plumb, square, and true.
Now That You're a Part of the House:
You now are a part of the construction process. It is through your gifts, skills and talents, time, and treasures that God the Builder continues to add on to His house. You are "laborers for Christ." You a part of the grand plan of God's salvation.
Do you want to know more? Do you have a comment or question? Please take the time to make a comment below.
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.