And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.Mark 1:13
The “In My Father’s Footsteps” devotions will return in September of 2019. Enjoy this devotion from the archives!
Imagine a world that runs on “being scared.” This imagined world is powered by fear. The fear of what lies in the dark. Or the fear of what lies under our bed. The fear of what lurks in the back of our closets. Monsters, beasts, bogymen, all the things that make us afraid and scared power this world I’ve asked you to imagine.
That is the premise of the highly popular movie – and one of my favorites – Monsters Inc.
The world of Monsters Inc. is run on an economy of fear.
But that’s just a movie. A fun movie, but still just a movie.
Or is it?
We live in a world of fear. We are living scared.
What scares you?
Not having enough money to retire?
A spouse that doesn’t take care of himself or herself?
That you won’t get into the college of your first, second or third choice?
That your cancer won’t go away?
Actually, the list is virtually endless, isn’t it? We live in a world of fear. We are living scared.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could live safe instead?
I’ve got some good news for you!
The good news is that Jesus’ temptation can lead us to a life of safety instead of a life of fear.
Jesus could be tempted because Jesus has a human nature, just like us. We’re tempted all the time, about which I’ll touch on a little later.
In the Apostles’ Creed, there are two states of Jesus Christ described. His state of humiliation and his state of exaltation.
The temptation of Jesus happened during his state of humiliation.
Jesus Could Be Tempted Because He Was Fully Human
Baseball is in the forefront of my thinking a lot. Many baseball athletes have two states. One as a player and one as a coach.
In the 80’s, and 90’s I went to quite a few baseball games on the Southside of Chicago.
The White Sox had an outstanding shortstop at that time, 1985 Rookie of the Year and three-time All Star Ozzie Guillen.
In 2000 his state as a player ended. He soon after took on the state of coach – going on to win a World Series title with both the Florida Marlins and, of course, the 2005 Chicago White Sox.
But for those who are not White Sox fans (and you know who you are), here’s another example of two states of a baseball athlete.
In the middle ‘60s to the middle 70’s there was an All-Star shortstop on the northside. True Cubs fans know who I’m talking about, right?
Six-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner Don Kessinger. He had an even better state as a baseball player than Ozzie Guillen.
In 1979, Kessinger also took on the state of a baseball manager. He wasn’t as successful as Guillen, probably because while manager of the 1979 White Sox, he was also their shortstop. His two states mingled.
Jesus Christ did not mingle his two states. They were distinct and separate. Jesus had a state of humiliation and state of exaltation.
His State of Humiliation
The Apostles’ Creed describes Jesus’ state of humiliation like this:
“Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.”
At his conception by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, the Second Person of the Trinity was literally “humiliated” – that is, he put on human flesh. This is also called the incarnation, by the way.
Part of being a human being is to face temptation. You and I face temptation all the time.
Our human flesh is tempted to eat food we shouldn’t eat, or in quantities we shouldn’t eat.
We are tempted to sleep when we should be awake [like in the morning, before church!].
Our human flesh is tempted to watch movies or internet videos that we have no business – as a Christian – watching.
And we are tempted to be our own gods instead of following God’s ways – like Adam and Eve did way back at the beginning. We know what happened to them – which is the reason we are living scared most of the time today!
Jesus came to save us from all this. To do so, Jesus would have to put on human flesh and face the same temptations.
Which is exactly what he did.
Heavenly Father, help me overcome my fear by being assured that Jesus overcame temptation for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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