Day 19, Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Through the second temptation, the devil asked Jesus to take a leap of faith (Matthew 4: 5-7) to prove that He indeed was the Messiah. In reality, devil’s agenda was to kill Jesus before His perfect time so that he could thwart God’s mission in and through Jesus Christ. In refusing to comply with Satan’s deception, Jesus showed us that He would not put the Father to test by jumping off the pinnacle of the temple, but He would rather obey the Father by going to the cross.
Jesus knew that He had come to die for the salvation of humanity. He was also fully aware that the way of the cross was not an easy one. But He also trusted His Father completely in that He would not keep Him in the grave forever, but He would deliver Him through death, by raising Him from the dead. Here, Jesus was presented an opportunity to choose an easy way out, to get away from the impending life of misery, insult, rejection, capture by His own people, being led as a worst kind of criminal on the way to Golgotha, and finally to be brutally crucified by the Romans. In this temptation, once again, Satan wished Jesus to act independently of God’s will for Him, which was the way of the cross. Thank God for Jesus who chose that path of suffering and death so that you and I could be free from sin today. However, we need to remember that perhaps God’s desire for us may also be that we go through pain and suffering in our lives during our wilderness experience. Satan will certainly show us other options and easy way out of God’s will. There are many false prosperity-gospel preachers that will confidently teach that God’s will for you is to only prosper in every possible way. There are many who believe that Christianity is the easiest religion of just grace and forgiveness. But when faced with such temptations, we need to recall how Jesus acted and chose the way of the cross. And after He came out victoriously from His temptations, He warned us: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7: 13-14 NIV). May we choose to the narrow way—the Jesus’ way—and find eternal life. Amen.