… for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. – Luke 4:2
It is hard not to be tempted in our culture by many things. We are tempted by power, sex, the accumulations of things (and some of the things are not worth accumulating). We are a tempted people. And sometimes we think that we are the only ones tempted – or that it is something new – or that we are even evil because of our temptation. But that is not the truth.
The bible outlines the three temptations of Jesus, but these aren’t the only three temptations that Jesus suffered. The Bible says that Jesus was tempted for forty days. For forty days, Satan worked hard at getting Jesus to abandon his mission. But for forty days Jesus resisted Satan’s advances. At the end of the forty days, Satan left him until an “opportune” time. A time when he might once again be encouraged to quit.
There are some things that we need to hear from this passage. The first is that temptation is not evil. Jesus was tempted. But we also need to recognize that temptation happens at the opportune time – which usually means when we are weak. So if we want to resist temptation, we will need to be extremely careful when we are tired (or hungry.)
Today we gather together for worship – not as the perfect – but as the tempted. And sometimes the temptation wins the battle. But we get up and repent and try one more time. That is who we are - the ones that have failed in temptation forgiven by the one who never gave in.