July 05, 2010

The Benefits of Trials

Luke 4:1-13

Jesus … was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil.
Luke 4:1-2


The fact that Jesus could be tempted may come as a surprise. Even more surprising is that this test came after a high point in his ministry. Jesus had just been baptized by John. (See Luke 3:21-22.)

We are baptized as sinners. But Jesus had no sin. Jesus’ baptism identified him with the sinners he had come to save. The words of his Father in heaven and the gift of the Spirit were clear signs that Jesus was commissioned and empowered to do his saving work.

But Satan was ready to test him. The moment when one receives special grace can also be a moment when one is tested. How much grace Jesus must have experienced through those 40 days of fasting and prayer! But then he needed it to withstand the devil’s attacks. Satan came with temptations that challenged whether Jesus would truly fulfill the Father’s mission.

What should we do when faced with a test? Note that Jesus used Scripture to resist the devil. With God’s Word in our hearts, we can have strength to fight temptation. The book of James encourages us to be positive, to pray, and to be patient in times of testing (see James 1:2-12). We must trust in God’s power and have faith. Trials and tests are sometimes used to train and educate us in holiness. The more disciplined the training, the more abundant the blessings.

Father, no matter what tests and temptations we face, may we not forget your love. Help us to be grateful even in hard times. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jang Ho Park

Jang Ho Park is a pastor in Tacoma, Washington. He and his wife, Jong Boon, have two sons.

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