Thoughts and meditations on different passages of scripture:
I recently started memorizing the Sermon on the Mount and since the Beatitudes are first-up in that section, I’ve been saying them a lot. One morning, while in the shower a thought hit me and almost brought me to tears. Jesus spoke these words. Not only did He speak them, but he knew them to be true. I imagine that as he was saying these words to His disciples, He found immense comfort in them. These words were not only reassuring to the ears they fell upon, but I imagine that this is what Jesus was pondering over and finding comfort in Himself. With the cross of Calvary ever-looming in His mind, He spoke these words:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3-10, ESV)
40 days in the wilderness
I read this this morning during a study on spiritual warfare, and realized that I had never comprehended the weight of the first part of this passage. Jesus went into the wilderness for 40 days and we give a lot of attention to Satan’s 3 temptations at the end of those days, and rightly so; there’s a lot of information to pull from them. But here are the verses preceding those 3 temptations:
And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. (Luke 4:1-2, ESV)
What hits me is that the devil wasn’t just tempting Jesus after his 40-day fast. The entire 40 days he was being tempted by the devil. Then it completes this thought by saying, “And when they were ended, he was hungry.” Can you imagine being tempted for 40 days straight and never giving in?
When we think of the suffering of Christ, we automatically think of the torment He experienced on the cross. While this is true and it is that very suffering that allows me to even ponder over these things, I often add His temptation to His suffering. Hebrews 4:15 says, “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.”
We have a lazy-man’s view of temptation because we so easily give into it. Jesus, was tempted in every respect for 33(ish) years and never. once. gave in.
To finish this thought, here is a C.S. Lewis quote:
“Christ, because He was the only Man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only Man who knows to the full what temptation means,” (Today in the Word, November 1998, p. 24).