“Then Jesus was lead up into the desert by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, and when He fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry.”
Whatever Jesus does, He does for you. Wherever Jesus goes, He goes for you. There’s nothing that Jesus does, nothing that Jesus says, nothing that Jesus experienced that wasn’t for you and your salvation. That’s what Jesus is all about, just like His name says—saving you. “Call Him ‘Jesus’ because He will save His people from their sins.”
That’s especially so in Lent. Lent isn’t Christianity’s form of New Year’s resolutions. It’s not your time to get your act together for God, not your time to fast for God, not your time to take up extra self-discipline to fix your relationship with God.
If it you want it to be about those things, about repentance, then repent! And not fake repentance. Outward only. Only the sins you don’t like. Actually fast from all your sins! Stop doing them. Stop wanting to do them! Keep them where they belong. Not in your daily life or your heart or your mind. Keep them on Jesus! He already took them, after all. That’s what Lent’s really about! Jesus saving you! Why take them back? Or don’t you know? Whatever Jesus did, whatever He said, whatever He experienced, wherever He went—He did it all for you. So also today:
JESUS ENDURED TEMPTATION FOR YOU.
((I. He did it in the desert for you.))
Into the desert Jesus goes. The Spirit lead Him there. “Threw Him” there, according to Mark. It’s almost as if He had to go. He did. He went into the desert because there Jesus set right what went wrong, what went wrong from the very beginning, and what has continually gone wrong ever since.
The Lord said to Adam, “Don’t eat or you’ll die.” The devil said, “Eat and you’ll live like God.” And Adam and Eve ate… Jesus is the new Adam. The devil tempted Jesus just like Adam: “Tell these stones to become bread. Eat Jesus! Prove you’re the Son of God.” Jesus wouldn’t eat.
Jesus needed to set right what Israel had done, too. The Israelites spent 40 years in the desert not trusting the Lord to care for them. They always said the same thing, no matter how many times or how miraculously He saved them. “We’re going to die!” Not Jesus. He wouldn’t test the Lord. He didn’t need to test whether His Father would care for Him or not. He believed it. He knew it. He is “the Son of God,” after all.
Jesus needed to take care of sins, too. He’s the “Lamb of God.” Baptized to be that. He went through sinners Baptism to take their sins and yours, and just like the goat on Yom Kippur carried the sins of Israel into the desert. So also Jesus bore your sins into the wilderness, and He would die for them, too! He wouldn’t worship the devil to save the world. No, He would die. He took what the kingdoms of the world gave Him—purple robes, crown of thorns, cross, and death. All for you!
It is for you because Jesus sets right what’s wrong with you. He’s the new Adam and Israel, and that means He’s the new you! He claimed as His own what’s wrong with us and even the whole world. His enduring temptation counts for you. Where you give in, He never did. He didn’t even want to give in, and so He didn’t! He was tempted just like you, just like me, just like William, just like every human being ever, but He didn’t sin. JESUS ENDURED TEMPTATION FOR YOU.
((II. His enduring temptation is yours!))
Jesus’ enduring temptation is yours. He gives it out. Whatever Jesus does, wherever He goes, whatever He says is all for your salvation. So also what He gives! Whatever Jesus gives He gives for you. He delivers His salvation to you, even His enduring temptation.
It’s not just a nice idea. A truth of Scripture you just agree with. That’s not how Jesus does things at all! He gives something, and it’s given! Given for you and to you—over your head, into your ears, in your mouth! That’s what Jesus is all about, after all.
He’s the new you, the new all of us. You’re in on that. You’re a son of God as much as He is the Son of God. The Father called Jesus His Son at His Baptism. Same with you. Same with William Geoffrey today! Adoption into God’s family, Jesus’ salvation, and God’s Triune name delivered to him today at the font.
Same with you. Sure, the devil’s after you because you’re a baptized child of God. He’s tempting you to reject that! He wants you to keep sinning, and to identify yourself by your past sins, your current failures toward God and others, and the fear that your sins will always define you.
“This is My beloved Son,” the Father says. Jesus is that no matter what, and that same Jesus, who also died and rose, makes sure it’s that way for you, too. So, fight the devil’s lies, his temptations, the world’s temptations, and your own inward temptations, too. “The victory has been won.” Christ was tempted, died, and rose for you. You are baptized into that Christ! “The kingdom ours remaineth.”
There’s even more from Jesus for you. He gives you fruit from the new tree of life—His cross. He gives you new Manna! He tells you, “Take eat; take drink. My body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” The devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh will work very hard to get us to not eat. The devil’s trick is the same: God says eat, devil says don’t; God says don’t eat, devil says eat.
Jesus’ flesh and blood, the same flesh and blood that endured temptation for you, that died for you, that rose for you, is given you to eat and to drink. It is the medicine of eternal life. Jesus’ forgiveness poured down your throat! The cure and remedy and strength against temptation is right there: freely given, freely received. “My body and blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”
Whatever Jesus does, He does for you. Wherever He goes, He goes for you. There’s nothing that He does, nothing that He says, nothing that He experienced that wasn’t for you and your salvation. So also today:
JESUS ENDURED TEMPTATION FOR YOU.
He’s new Adam, new Israel, new you! Everything He did counts for you. He was tempted for you, in your place. He never sinned for you. He took your sins as His own. He died for them. He rose for you. But not just what He does, whatever He gives, He gives to you. JESUS ENDURING TEMPTATION FOR YOU is yours. At the Font. There God’s name is given to you. You’re baptized into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. William Geoffrey today! Devil’s got nothing on you!
So also the Supper. There Jesus’ salvation is delivered, which includes His enduring temptation in your place. There is strength for you to endure. There is the answer to your prayer: “Lead us not into temptation.” There Jesus’ body and blood is the gift and medicine that God uses to guard you from the devil, the world, and your sinful nature, to keep you from false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. The body and blood of Jesus overcomes all of them, and you win the victory. “The kingdom ours remaineth.”