Dear Hope family,

Thought for the Week

Jesus – the Perfect One

Hebrews 4v15 “[Jesus] has been tempted in every way as we are – yet was without sin.”

On the way home from a Christ Central prayer day yesterday, someone in the back of the car offered me a cookie. I said, “No, I’m fine”, but then, after a moment, I asked, “What flavour cookie?” She said, “White chocolate and raspberry.” Well I love white chocolate and raspberry, so I replied, “You’ve tempted me – go on then.”

Now I am not sure that me having the cookie was a sin, but the moment I asked for more information, I was done for. “No, I’m fine” would have finished it. Most sin involves a process. The inquiry into Policeman Wayne Couzen’s murder of Sarah Everard in London in 2021 has found that Wayne followed many steps over many years in his journey to where he is now. Each step could have been intercepted by him or others. Maybe, when we pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” the answer doesn’t just rest with God?

We so easily fall into sin. Sometimes we know we are doing it – intentional sins. Sometimes it is only afterwards that we realise what we have done – unintentional sin. Why is it so hard to avoid falling into temptation?

Jesus faces the Devil’s tempting just before the start of his ministry. You can read an account in Matthew 4v1-11. Temptations are only real if they touch a desire in your heart. For example, the Devil’s first temptation for Jesus was based on Jesus’ hunger for food after 40 days of fasting. For you, what desires do temptations tend to latch on to?

Jesus rebuts each temptation with the Word of God as he quotes verses from the Jewish Bible (the Old Testament). To stand against temptation requires more than our own strength. We need the power of God and there is power in His Word. In Hebrews 4v12, it says, “The word of God is living and effective.” In addition, Jesus later says to his disciples, “Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (Matthew 26v41) Maybe part of Christ’s strength over temptation was in his prayers in the wilderness.

Jesus was and is perfect. His perfection meant that he did not need to carry his own sin, but could carry ours when he died on the cross. Give thanks that he can say, “Come to me you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11v28. He gives rest to soul full of guilt and shame.

With love and blessing,