The sequel to the temptations (Matthew 4)

Jesus won a great victory. He revealed that he could overcome the enemy by obedience to the will of God. We have to remember that such a triumph had never been known before. Unlike us, Jesus could not be tempted from the inside and there was nothing in him that found the temptations attractive. Eden had become a terrible place because of Adam’s failure to resist temptation. It was the place of defeat, even although a promise was given that a Deliverer would come. Now he had, and the desert became the field of victory.

Jesus experienced the comfort of heaven when angels came to minister to him. Heaven recognised the dignity of his person. Here was the banquet after the battle. There never had been such an event before. The disgust he felt at the presence of evil turned into delight at the presence of sinlessness expressed in the holy angels. A foretaste of restored paradise was given. The One had come who would reverse the curse and transform the universe. In the desert, holy songs were sung.

The resistance of Jesus reveals that he is stronger than the devil. Our Champion not only won this battle, he was never defeated in any battle by our enemy. It was success all the way, even although it was a severe conflict.

Yet his experience reminds us that while it is not a sin to be tempted, temptation can be the occasion when God tests our commitment to him. This was the case with Jesus. We must remember that we are not tested because God doubts progress, but because he delights in progress.

Moreover, we know from this period of testing that Jesus understands the full power of temptation, so is able to sympathise with his people when they are tempted. The one who knows the power of temptation is not the one who gives in, even if it takes a while to do so. Instead, it is the person who resists temptation who knows how powerful it is. For us, it is good to know that Jesus understands, even more than fellow Christians who have been severely tested.

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