Mark 1:13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.
Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Lent begins with the temptation of Jesus. Mark doesn’t tell us much about it, or what the temptation were – the point is that he was tempted, just like we are every day. He was tempted just like we are, but even though he was in the wilderness – he resisted – he did not give in to temptation. Jesus was tempted, but resisted, and it wasn’t just because he was God – and it wasn’t just because they weren’t real temptations.
But the biggest problem we have is that we just don’t talk about temptation. We are embarrassed to admit the things which do tempt us. Its not hard to talk about someone else’s weaknesses, but to talk about our own?
I like to fish, and every once in a while you come across one of those perfect situations. The first time I must have been all of 6, and we were fishing with my family in the Sierra’s, and I remember one evening when the fish were biting just about as fast as you could bait the hook, nice fat rainbow trout, and all of a sudden my dad said, well, were going to stop now, we caught our limit. When you are young, and something is fun, you don’t want to quit, just keep doing it forever. But we stopped, and to this day I marvel at that day. There have been other times when the fishing has been very good – and it still remains a temptation, but the example lives on.
I think that parents can often see when their children are being tempted, and have often heard parents telling their children, I can see those horns growing – that is, I can see the temptation, don’t give in to the devil – resist! After all, most parents would like their children to be little angels, not little devils – and it’s a reasonable thing – for what they really want, is that they live like the children of God they became in and through baptism.
Temptation as trial – or temptation as learning the power of God’s grace.
But the problem is, that if we don’t talk about temptation, then its quite difficult to talk about how Jesus is the answer – and how in Christ, we can be more than conquerors.
For while it is of great comfort, that in Christ there is forgiveness of sins, there is a wonderful joy in facing a temptation in Christ, and in Christ finding the victory.
And when it comes to examples – the best example is Jesus on the Cross – how could we, by our sins, do that all over again…