“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Matthew 4:1 (NRSV)
Because we know that Jesus is the Son of God, we know that He could have commanded those stones to have become bread and they would have, so as to satisfy His hunger.
Because we know that Jesus is the Son of God, we know that He could have leapt off the pinnacle of the temple, and angels would have borne Him up, so that He could have walked away without a scratch.
Because we know that Jesus is the Son of God, we know He could have grasped at that moment, what God would ultimately give Him, that is, all the kingdoms of the world.
Each of these temptations called upon Jesus to take the easy way out, but Jesus’ knowledge of the scriptures revealed that He knew the easy way out was not God’s way! And it isn’t for us!
Think back about some of the temptations you have faced in life. You did not study enough for the test, you are seated next to a straight A student, and you could easily look on your neighbor’s paper and cheat on the test so as to get a good grade. An easy way out, but not God’s way! A situation has arisen between you and a friend. You are afraid to tell the truth thinking it may hurt your friend or make him or her angry. You decide to candy coat your remarks rather than to speak the truth in love. An easy way out, but not God’s way!
And we know Jesus encountered a final temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane. There too He must have been tempted to take the easy way out. Instead He submitted to God’s will and died on the cross for our sins. He died on the cross for all of those times when we have succumbed to temptation … when we have taken the easy way out. He died so that we might receive forgiveness of our sins. Thank you Jesus!
Dear God, help us to read and study the scriptures so that we are well armed to resist the temptations we will encounter in life. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.