Jesus Passes the Test, We Fail…Without Jesus
A Perfectly Human Jesus
The text for this first Sunday in Lent is Matthew 4: 1-11. This is the justly famous tale of Jesus in the desert being tempted by the devil. He is offered three temptations and rejects Satan’s overtures 3 times. Jesus thereby passes the test. Basically Jesus tells the devil to step off!
The one thing that this passage does is reveal a very human Jesus. He is tempted the way we all are. He is tempted by material things, safety and power. Isn’t this the story of humanity? This is important as we believe that Jesus is both God and man, divine and human. Nothing that we experience as humans is foreign to Jesus as He has gone through it all Himself.
Yet what is most relevant here is that Jesus passes every test thrown at Him. He overcomes all temptations. Jesus is perfectly human in that He is tempted as we are. Yet, He is perfectly humanin that He always passes the test. Jesus is without sin. He is the exemplar of what it is to live a fullyhuman life.
The fact is that Jesus passes the tests that we cannot. It’s not that we fail every test, just too many to count. We are flawed, we are sinful, we are defined by our fallen nature. This is the opposite of what Jesus is and can do. This points us toward a fundamental reality of the universe: God is God, and we are not.
The Test We Can Pass
The amazingly Good News in all of this is that we do not have to pass all these tests. This is good news since we can’t anyway. The only “test” we need to pass is believing in God’s good and gracious word. Simply trust that God’s word is true. This puts us completely right with God and gives us the comfort of knowing that our salvation is assured. If we but believe, then Jesus dwells in our hearts and He is the righteousness of God. It is because of this that we go out and try to do good works. Yet, we know that we will fail to do the things we want and know we should, but that is ok, because we trust in God’s word and believe in His Son.
No test we could pass, or work we perform can make us worthy of God. We do not need to be worthy of God, He loves us anyway, beyond measure and without condition. He sent us Jesus to live among us and to be human like us, but perfectly human in every sense of that word. It is our belief in this divine and human and risen Lord that makes every other failing we possess a thing we should not worry about. In response to our faith in Jesus as Lord, we will go out and do the best we can. We know that we will faceplant repeatedly-so what? We know that this does not matter because we are made perfect before God by our faith in Jesus the Christ. So simply believe, then (as best you humanly can) obey.
Praise Be to God