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Lenten Reflections 2021: Being Watchful After Every Victory

@johnvinod | March 15, 2021

After Jesus’ victory over his temptations in the wilderness, the devil left him. We should never assume that it was the end of temptations in Jesus’ life. Let us not imagine that Jesus went out of the wilderness, launched his ministry, and that was it, and he never had to face such crisis again. Jesus indeed came out of the desert a victor, but that does not mean Satan gave up. Rather, Jesus continued enduring temptations at different times and in various areas of his life and ministry, all through the next couple of years until his death on the cross. There is a tiny but significant statement in Matthew 4: 11 and Luke 4: 13. Various translations help bring out the meaning of these verses:

Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and began ministering to him (Matthew 4:11 ESV).

Only Luke mentions an additional detail:

Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time (Luke 4: 13 NKJV).

And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a season (Luke 4:13 ESV).

“Every” does not mean there were no other temptations that Jesus ever faced later on. It means every kind of temptation. As we saw in the last week’s reflections, the devil tried different types of tests and tricks to trap Jesus. His temptations addressed all crucial areas of his life as a human being, but Jesus foiled all of them. Jesus’ tests were comprehensive in nature appealing to the basic human passions and weaknesses. The devil, at that time, ran out of all the darts in his bucket. So, when he knew that he was not having his way with him, he left Jesus.

But then in Luke 4:13, he quickly adds, that Satan only left “for a season” or “until an opportune time.” It means he came back at a convenient time to try to lead Jesus into temptation. On many occasions, Jesus faced the temptation of taking the easy way or to take a short cut to success and popularity. These were the instances when the devil had returned to do his job. For example, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the devil went at it hammer and tongs. What should encourage us today is that there is no atypical temptation or a mysterious stunt of the devil from which we cannot learn to defend ourselves through Jesus’ example. Jesus had faced all of the same darts and more to teach his followers to prepare for all conditions. Therefore, Jesus fully knows what you may be facing today or tomorrow. “Every temptation” of Jesus made him the “one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15); therefore, making us also capable of victory over every manner of temptation. Praise God that Jesus made a way for us all and gave us the Holy Spirit so that we do not have to fight temptations only in our own strength. Therefore, following Jesus, as Andrew Bonar rightly said, “let us be as watchful after the victory as before the battle!” Amen.

Published inDevotionsLenten Devotions 2021Lenten Reflections 2021

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